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Manresa Restaurant, Los Gatos


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hapacooking.

Thanks for the detailed report. I'm sorry to hear that you had such an off experience. I've only had one meal there and was very satisfied - although I'm not sure if the FOH service had been changed (it was just this past mid-May). The service was by far the worse part of our meal - and it was that bad, we just happen to get a number of servers toward the beginning of the meal who a bit "green" to the menu. (Lots of questions returned with a, "I don't know, but I'll go ask the kitchen.") After they saw that we were somewhat more inquisitive about the food than the average folk, they adjusted and we got a more seasoned server showing up about 1/3 of the way through the meal - an appreciated and acknowledged adjustment.

You've had now a number of experiences, and I surely don't doubt that by comparison, this one was not up to your expectactions or the restaurants standards. Sorry to hear that it happened on your wedding anniversary.

My wife had the Foie, which tasted great but was overcooked. Not sure why it was so dry if it was smoked but it was very dry in the middle. She didn’t finish the dish and my wife loves Foie.

Was this the Mesquite-grilled foie? If so, it's hard to imagine it overcooked. Dry? I'm not doubting you, but I'm just having a hard time imagining dry cold foie gras. Now warm foie gras, I've had dry before - I think because they sauteed/grilled all of the fat out of it and all that was left were the liver solids.

The entrees were a disaster.  The roast sucking pig was dry and had very little taste. Dry-bland would have been a great description. 
To be honest, I've had suckling pig a number of times, and have never had a moist tender cut before. The meat tends to be stringy and dry. I think the attractiveness of the suckling, for me at least, is the crackling. :raz:

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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My wife had the Foie, which tasted great but was overcooked. Not sure why it was so dry if it was smoked but it was very dry in the middle. She didn’t finish the dish and my wife loves Foie.

Was this the Mesquite-grilled foie? If so, it's hard to imagine it overcooked. Dry? I'm not doubting you, but I'm just having a hard time imagining dry cold foie gras. Now warm foie gras, I've had dry before - I think because they sauteed/grilled all of the fat out of it and all that was left were the liver solids.

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I was there for the first tiem last week and my service was excellent - nearly the opposite of what you describe. My waitress answered every question I had and even anticipated the questions I would have.

I too was struck by the saltiness of the sea bream, but I came to realize that the saltiness in several dishes was probably intentional, playing with the textures of different salts and salty ingredients - in the sea bream it was soy vinegar that brought the salt, in another dish the crunch of fleur de sel, in the mussels the source was the brine of the mussels themselves.

Some dishes fell short for me, but the highs of dishes like the sea bream, the abalone and the mussels soared.

I was completely charmed by this place.

Bill Russell

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I thought the waiter said it was smoked but it could have been grilled. It was warm either way and was dry in the center. The edges of the foie gras were fantastic but the center was dried out

Did it look like this?

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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We just ate at Manresa for the 6th time and I must confess that it was surprisingly disappointing.  I have always held Manresa in the highest regards in both innovative and outstanding cuisine but Friday's visit will keep us away for a while.  The service was amateuristic at best and the food, although somewhat adventurous, was not tasty and in fact some of the dishes were inedible. 

At first we thought that maybe we were spoiled from our recent trip to El Bulli and San Sebastian but as the meal progressed, we discovered that other neighboring diners (who also have eaten there in the past) had similar criticism of the food and service.

I am sure all restaurants have an “off-night” and unfortunately we experienced it on Friday.

Very disappointing on a anniversary I can imagine. But with five fabulous meals under your belt and one poor I would suggest given Manresa another chance as your experience was likely a fluke.

Robert R

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nope. It looked seared although the waiter kept telling me it was smoked. It came with beets and apple. It was much darker in color and thinner.

I thought the waiter said it was smoked but it could have been grilled. It was warm either way and was dry in the center. The edges of the foie gras were fantastic but the center was dried out

Did it look like this?

u.e.

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  • 2 months later...

With my first ever trip to California just a day away, and my first trip to Manresa right around the corner, I was already excited. But as I scanned this thread again one last time before the trip, all the beautiful pictures and descriptions by people like docsconz, molto e, ulterior epicure and others have surely whetted my appetite even more for what I hope will be a wonderful experience on Tuesday evening. I'll be sure to report back on all the details of the Grand Tasting Menu I've requested for my father and I. Hopefully a few pictures, too :cool:

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In my opinion David Kinch is one of the best chefs in the country right now if not the best.

And he never had the blessing of having the Ruth Reichl's of the world rain praise down on him, but did it the old fashioned way. Slowly but surely one table at a time.

I have no doubt you will have a awesome meal and looking forward to hearing your report.

Robert R

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And he never had the blessing of having the Ruth Reichl's of the world rain praise down on him,...

What? I'm no Ruth Reichl? :laugh:

tupac - have a stupendous time! Take lots of notes and pictures! I can't wait to see what Chef Kinch is doing these days.

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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And he never had the blessing of having the Ruth Reichl's of the world rain praise down on him,...

What? I'm no Ruth Reichl? :laugh:

tupac - have a stupendous time! Take lots of notes and pictures! I can't wait to see what Chef Kinch is doing these days.

u.e.

Are you kidding? She can't stand in your shoes. :laugh:

Robert R

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In my opinion David Kinch is one of the best chefs in the country right now if not the best.

I agree completely. I'll even go one step further and say he is absolutely the best right now. What's more, is as you said, he's doing it the old-fashioned way. He doesn't need L'Atelier de David Kinch @ $47,000.00 pp to make an impact.

The only other chef on the planet that I have the same level of respect and enthusiasm about is Thomas Keller. I hope they both would view that as mutually complimentary.

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In my opinion David Kinch is one of the best chefs in the country right now if not the best.

I agree completely. I'll even go one step further and say he is absolutely the best right now. What's more, is as you said, he's doing it the old-fashioned way. He doesn't need L'Atelier de David Kinch @ $47,000.00 pp to make an impact.

The only other chef on the planet that I have the same level of respect and enthusiasm about is Thomas Keller. I hope they both would view that as mutually complimentary.

With all due respect to David, he is very talented and a great chef, but yours is a rather strong statement, that I, personally would have a hard time ascribing to anyone - even amongst the many great chefs whose cuisines I have had the pleasure of trying. then there are the multitudes whose food I know only by reputation. I think it would be nearly impossible for one individual to definitively make that statement without a qualification such as "in my experience".

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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I thought that went without saying, being that it was me posting. Wouldn't that be redundant to clarify that what I was saying was based on *my* experience? I didn't say "It is common knowledge and generally conceited that David Kinch is the best chef in America".

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I thought that went without saying, being that it was me posting.  Wouldn't that be redundant to clarify that what I was saying was based on *my* experience?  I didn't say "It is common knowledge and generally conceited that David Kinch is the best chef in America".

I think you missed my point, although I may not have made it very well with my last sentence being especially confusing. What I meant was that the statement itself is extreme. Perhaps David Kinch is the best chef in the US right now. I am not arguing against that possibility or denigrating Chef Kinch in any way. However, I believe that such an absolute statement about any chef is absurd, even if he may the one whose work in your experience you most appreciate. I won't belabor this point as I think it is now largely a matter of expression and semantics. I just wanted to clarify my original statement. Hopefully I have done so, but if I haven't I will leave off this line of discussion.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Chef Kinch's Manresa has earthy authenticity, the best in it's class, ideal for the rural south bay. He's one of the few chefs who quietly appreciate the concept of biodynamic farming, he actually bought a farm in the santa cruz mountains (Felton) to grow seasonal biodynamic produce exclusively for the restaurant. His style is humble, adventurous, and scientifically thoughtful.

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he actually bought a farm in the santa cruz mountains (Felton) to grow seasonal biodynamic produce exclusively for the restaurant.

Not entirely accurate. The farm is in Ben Lomond, and has been leased by Chef Kinch, rather than purchased. This works out well, as the owner tends the farm, and plants according to Chef Kinch's specifications.

For more information, check out Manresa's blog here.

Edited by samgiovese (log)

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

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  • 3 weeks later...

Menu from last night's Tomato Modernista dinner at Manresa.

gallery_18838_706_14203.jpg

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

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From looking at the menu I doubt I even need to ask how was it. :biggrin:

:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

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  • 4 weeks later...

My wife and I had a wonderful time at Manresa on Saturday.

I excused myself from taking copious notes, since it was a special occasion; but, I will try to post some more thoughts once I get them organized.

The amazing tasting menu and deft, eclectic wine pairings, put Manresa in the running for our top 5 all-time restaurant experiences. The Corn "Soup" amuse was definitely one of the best things I've had in a restaurant this year.

The Toll House was also a nice place to stay. Really nice sheets and pillows! And Castle Rock State Park was astonishingly beautiful on such a crisp autumn day.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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  • 2 months later...

Wow!

Just learned from their newsletter that Alain Passard is going to be guest chef at Manresa March 9-11th.

Surely, I must have something to hock of enough value...

Alain Passard (Link to Manresa Blog)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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  • 1 month later...

The Passard dinner was seriously good. I can't say I'll be cooking up a chocolate and carrot dessert at home any time soon but several of the dishes served last night rank among the best dishes I've been served in years. I'm too lazy to write up a full report, but the highlights from the meal for me were the monkfish in mustard; abalone; spring lamb (crazy good with a glass of cheval blanc); and caviar in a seaweed gelee. The wines were fantastic as well.

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The Passard dinner was seriously good.  I can't say I'll be cooking up a chocolate and carrot dessert at home any time soon but several of the dishes served last night rank among the best dishes I've been served in years.  I'm too lazy to write up a full report, but the highlights from the meal for me were the monkfish in mustard; abalone; spring lamb (crazy good with a glass of cheval blanc); and caviar in a seaweed gelee.  The wines were fantastic as well.

I'm *very miffed* that I was away on travel and couldn't make it to this event. Very envious, indeed, melkor, but would love to hear more details.... was the menu posted online anywhere?

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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