Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Manresa Restaurant, Los Gatos


bong
 Share

Recommended Posts

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.

Interesting. I think in your list only the monkfish is a Passard dish. I wasn't a fan of the effect of the long cooking on fish when I visited Arpege.

I'm pretty sure the lamb is Kinch. The ris de veau served prior to that was Passard I believe.

The caviar in seaweed (and turbot) gelee is insanely good.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is the Saturday menu, for interested parties.

gallery_18838_706_191668.jpg

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

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

And while you were enjoying the Passard dinner I was trying to choose one of the wonderful dining options on wolf road. :sad:

Sounds wonderful and wish I was there.

Robert R

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

And while you were enjoying the Passard dinner I was trying to choose one of the wonderful dining options on wolf road. :sad:

Sounds wonderful and wish I was there.

Hopefully you were not aware of this dinner at the time. That would have made it doubly painful! :laugh:

That menu sounds amazing. If the food was not incredible enough and I believe that it was - the wines themselves would have been enough to make that an incredible evening.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting article...in the LA Times, of all places (thanks, Liz!) Hope the Bay Area rags come to the party tomorrow!

http://tinyurl.com/2xh6vx

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

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting article...in the LA Times, of all places (thanks, Liz!)  Hope the Bay Area rags come to the party tomorrow!

http://tinyurl.com/2xh6vx

Here's the full title of the Los Angeles Times article (14 Mar. 2007) by Betty Hallock, with a little beginning excerpt:

Chefs' common ground: The garden

In an early spring garden tucked into the Santa Cruz Mountains, Alain Passard knelt beside a patch of young Chinese cabbage, carefully rubbing the leaves between his fingers. He made his way through the garden, stopped next to some red mustard and plucked a leaf to taste, then some sorrel, then the yellow bud of flowering Chinese broccoli, ...

Passard, the chef of L'Arpège in Paris who six years ago made what was considered a revolutionary move by publicly declaring that his Michelin three-star restaurant would shift its focus from his signature meat dishes to vegetables, came to California last weekend to cook dinner with chef David Kinch at Manresa in Los Gatos and to visit Kinch's garden.

I think it's about time I make a dinner reservation for Manresa, ehh??

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's about time I make a dinner reservation for Manresa, ehh??

I'm thinking its about time I made a return trip... It has been over a year for me and back then, Kinch didn't yet have his garden.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could use some advice/help.

I have a reservation in April for Manresa. Sunday evening (at 7:30) is the only day that works.

Unfortunately, my wife is probably too finicky for the tasting menu (no red meat etc).

Any advice as to get the most out of the evening?

I am really excited about this meal based mostly on this thread!

also

Is late April too early for the garden?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could use some advice/help.

I have a reservation in April for Manresa. Sunday evening (at 7:30) is the only day that works.

Unfortunately, my wife is probably too finicky for the tasting menu (no red meat etc).

Any advice as to get the most out of the evening?

I am really excited about this meal based mostly on this thread!

also

Is late April too early for the garden?

I would call Manresa before your reservation and explain your wife's dietary restrictions. Maybe they can accommodate her. And you can both enjoy the tasting menu. I am not positive they can, but it's worth a shot.

I am sure whatever you choose will be outstanding. Needless to say I can't recommend Manresa enough.

Robert R

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could use some advice/help.

I have a reservation in April for Manresa. Sunday evening (at 7:30) is the only day that works.

Unfortunately, my wife is probably too finicky for the tasting menu (no red meat etc).

Any advice as to get the most out of the evening?

I am really excited about this meal based mostly on this thread!

also

Is late April too early for the garden?

I am confident they can accommodate you -- there are so many seafood dishes and with Kinch's new garden, undoubtedly a bounty of vegetable courses which should suffice. I have known people who go who can't eat pork and shellfish who dine there often quite well so your wife should have no problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not to beat a dead horse, but I know the staff at Manresa quite well. Please call 2 weeks prior to your res and ask to speak with Michael Kean (GM) and inform him of your dietary requests. David does such wonderful things with vegetables and seafood, fitting your wife's restrictions will not be a problem. Also, they plant the garden so that they have fresh produce pretty much year-round. I think you'll be VERY pleased!

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

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What can I say? Life is good.

Due to a crazy turn of events in the past few days, the night before last I was fortunate enough to return to Manresa to the grand tasting menu. I'd had been for the first time in late August, and enjoyed what was no doubt the best meal I'd ever had, period.

Well, the kitchen staff outdid themselves once again. Twenty-five courses. Absolutely sublime.

My first visit made me feel like I'd uncovered a somewhat hidden treasure. This second visit absolutely confirmed it.

This place is special. At this point, I'm running out of adjectives to describe just how well it meshes with my notions of what a restaurant experience can and should be. Suffice it to say, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to find myself within 1,000 miles of Los Gatos, CA without coming back here again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks all!

I guess my concern stems from the fact that the restaurant notes on their menus (via the website) that tasting menus must be ordered per table.

I will check in with them and see of they would allow me to order whatever they want to cook for a tasting menu and allow substitutions for any red meat dishes for my wife. (she's fine with seafood, chicken fowl etc).

I am getting hungry just thinking about my upcoming meal!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Okay here goes:

First Los Gatos was a side trip (my wife had a business meeting and we stayed in Monterey). We stayed in Los Gatos two nights at the lovely Hotel Los Gatos.

A lot for the reasonable money!

The town is also very nice--sort of reminded me of Greenwich CT with better scenery. (had that feel anyway). Upscale good shopping and the Mountains with some interesting vineyards and wineries.

Also worth noting is a very fine and exciting restaurant in the hotel: Dio Deka this may one of the finest Greek restaurants in this country (I will post separately about it).

As for Manresa.

First of all I am not prone to hyperbole and I may be a bit jaded living in New York. I try to put things into perspective.

The decor at Manresa is fine, subdued, more handsome than elegant but not requiring any further comment.

The service is very good. Professional yet friendly and accommodating (given the youthfulness of the staff this is quite an accomplishment. The kitchen also is flexible--my wife does not like red meat so we were offered two tastings that allowed for this. Especially good because it allowed us to try even more different dishes. I got some meat dishes and she got some seafood executions.

The pacing is good (there are 17 or 19 courses!) but overall one could become a bit fatigued by the last desert.

The wine list is good there is an option to order wines paired to the dishes but I usually prefer to avoid mixing a food tasting this elaborate with a wine tasting. I ordered wines by the glass of my own choosing.

The verdict.

I think Kinch is an extremely talented chef. I did not find the food overly inventive or intellectual. I would compare it to what Robuchon does. There is a simplicity about it yet great subtlety. For example Kinch utilized what seemed to me to be flavored bread crumbs to add a crunch to a dish. Simple but effective. I at first thought it was a coarse grained salt but in the absence of any real saltiness I concluded these were bread crumbs. Whatever they were, this is a simple yet very creative touch to add complexity.

I do find Robuchon's flavors to be a bit more intense than Kinch's.

Vegetables are a strong point. Not only in the incredible quality here but Kinch has an affinity for presenting them in dishes that showcase the flavor and freshness. He also offers some exotic (to me at least) items.

Seafood. Another strong point. I was not as impressed with the caviar and sea weed gelee as some here. It is good to be sure but using such good caviar (Iranian osetra I believe) in a dish where the flavors tended to mingle even clash a bit too much is overkill. this dish is a bit too overwhelmingly "fishy" tasting for me.

The oyster with uni (an amuse I believe) was a better example--the ingredients combined as if meant for each other in an explosion of briny flavor. The whole clearly greater than the sum of the parts. My wife got a beautiful seafood risotto. The seafood was superlative in quality and the rice perfectly cooked. This was simple but incredibly satisfying--a joy to eat.

I also recall a fish dish (I forget the fish) a simple filet perfectly cooked with a mild flavor that was very slightly crusted with salt and pepper I believe. This seasoning was IMOP gave this simple execution an etherial quality. The thing melted in my mouth and left a lingering sensation of the sea, salt and spice. There was an accompanying vanilla foam. I do not like the combination of vanilla and seafood--this is one of the more annoying leftovers of nouvelle cuisine. I must say though, Kinch's version was so light and airy that the seeming hint or impression of vanilla actually worked.

The abalone was also very good.

I was less thrilled with the meats. Really three dishes. A loin of rabbit a lamb chop and the suckling pig..

There was a terrific boudin noir with the rabbit but the loin was rather tough (overcooked) the lamb was ok--a decent small rib chop but the lamb itself though perfectly cooked was lacking in flavor and the sauce was inconsequential. The suckling pig was really some pork slices with crisped skin. I am a traditionalist here preferring the meat long slow cooked and "falling apart."

It is the slow cooking infusing the meat with the fat of the pig that makes this dish. Kinch seems to be sort of "deconstructing" it. A case of the separate parts yielding much less flavor than the traditional "whole."

The deserts (three) were very good. The style follows suit with the savory cooking here. Simple yet subtle flavors very good ingredients. All three worked well.

So

Overall this was a very fine meal. I would gladly go back. I would love to try an all vegetable menu. The seafood is also very well done. I would be willing to give Kinch another chance at the game and meats etc.

I must admit I am not normally a big seafood lover but I thoroughly enjoyed the seafood here.

$125 for the tasting menu here is a bargain.

There are so many truly fine restaurants in America at the moment it is hard to even rank them. I would say that Manresa certainly belongs somewhere in the mix.

Edited by JohnL (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, I dined there last Friday evening and had some similar thoughts -- the caviar with gelee was my least favorite and I would greatly enjoy having an entirely vegetarian meal at the hands of Kinch. We had considerably more seafood with only two meat dishes (the rabbit, which we loved, plus a lamb) but it was the vegetables that shined the most for me.

While I have had the tasting menu a number of times, I am getting to the point where I would be much happier with half the dishes - perhaps it was the multitude of high-end, multi-course meals I ate over the course of just a few days, but I am finding myself less and less enjoying 6-hour, never-ending meals. Or maybe I'm just getting old... But I would definitely go back and do something I have never done: Order off the menu!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree.

Though the menu is very limited in choices.

I think the optimum would be if Kinch does what Robuchon at L'Atelier does. That is offer a relatively large number of small plates enabling the diner to construct his or her own tasting menu.

We must be around the same age! I started to hit the wall after the twelfth dish or so. Maybe if they increased the pace a bit when the amuses are offered. I thought there was a bit too much time to "linger" over these wonderful but very small bites (the amuses).

Again, we really enjoyed the area. A lot to see and do around Los Gatos. And we thought Dio Deka was wonderful. There were also a few other very interesting looking restaurants as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
Any bay area eGullet-ers planning on going to one of the two Tomato Modernista dinners held Tuesday, September 18 and Wednesday, September 19?  I would love to go, but am without dinner companions as of yet, or even transportation for that matter (minor details :cool: ).  Let me know!

Regrettably, I am mildly allergic to tomatoes... While I can handle small portions, I'm afraid an entire dinner with that ingredient would be far too painful. Hope you find someone!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tupac, thanks for mentioning the tomato modernista, I'd forgotten the theme. I'm interested, as I said by email. As well as commiserating with Carolyn about allergy to tomatoes of all things. (I wonder if there's a preventative medicine. I've dealt with that before, as I posted some time ago. Happily the three meds are now down to one, a simple antihistamine.) But even then, a whole menu of incompatible food might be an uphill battle.

These special theme dinners often bring out various diners who read eG, or are local regulars, or even not-so-local regulars, all convivial. (One event brought people from far and wide, many of whom turned out to know each other -- there was much visiting from table to table).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...