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


Recommended Posts

Pig's trotters, sweetbreads, pigeon, goat, comté...

aw man...

It was indeed a marvelous array of ingredients and technical virtuosity along with it. Chef Kinch is cerebral, talented and generous. The kitchen knows what to do with the variety and quality of the ingredients at their disposal. In our post dinner discussion with Chef Kinch, he was talking passionately about the primacy of ingredients and his hopes for their own garden produce. His cuisine is a very interesting mix of influences from French to Japanese to Italian to Spanish and beyond that ultimately he makes into his own. My recollection of what he said to us was that he viewed French cuisine as his most elemental underpinning both in approach and technique.

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 post
Share on other sites

WOW!!!

Doc, you & molto delivered one hell of a tag team posting about one of my fave chefs and his amazing restaurant!

Great pix & text.

One of the best I've ever read on the 'Gullet, bar none.

Thank you, gentlemen!!!

2317/5000

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks doc and molto e for taking the time to take such beautiful pictures and for the accompanying write-ups! There seems to be something wrong with my computer and I can't open the menu on their website. May I ask whether the tasting menu is in the same league as FL, price-wise?

I can't speak to what molto e and docsconz's menu cost, as I believe they may have gotten some supplements and additions not normally included, but the tasting menu at Manresa, last time I checked (about a week ago) is at $110.

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

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks doc and molto e for taking the time to take such beautiful pictures and for the accompanying write-ups! There seems to be something wrong with my computer and I can't open the menu on their website. May I ask whether the tasting menu is in the same league as FL, price-wise?

Our dinner did indeed cost a little more than the Chef's Tasting Menu, however, even with paired wines at $72pp it was considerably less costly than TFL. The nearby hotel was less as well.

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 post
Share on other sites

i know that some people will take offense, but in my opinion, what with the law of diminishing returns, i'd much rather eat at manresa than the french laundry. i understand the lure of tk and "the best restaurant in the united states", but i'd much rather eat where i know the chef is cooking every night and is still evolving at the top of his game. the difference in price goes to pay for some intangibles, i understand that, but it just isn't worth it to me.

call me jaded,

alana

Link to post
Share on other sites
i know that some people will take offense, but in my opinion, what with the law of diminishing returns, i'd much rather eat at manresa than the french laundry.  i understand the lure of tk and "the best restaurant in the united states", but i'd much rather eat where i know the chef is cooking every night and is still evolving at the top of his game.  the difference in price goes to pay for some intangibles, i understand that, but it just isn't worth it to me.

call me jaded,

alana

It's only my opinion as well, but I came to the same conclusion during and after my meal at Manresa in November. I thought of it as more naive than jaded at the time, since I have yet to eat at TFL, but I did feel as if I were experiencing a moment in Chef Kinch's vision that may or may not be repeated simply because he IS still evolving. Did I eat what may become Manresa "classics" or were just a brief stop on his journey? In either case, I really, really, really want to make it back there. Manresa made a lifelong impression on me, whether I never eat a comparable meal again, or it serves as a milestone in a lifetime of fine meals to come. After reading doc & molto e's report I've been going back over my menu and tasting notes, trying to think of some clever way to tie in the last few sentences of "On The Road" with Manresa as ol' Dean Moriarty.........but apparently I'm just not that clever. :biggrin:

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

Link to post
Share on other sites

The above few posts are certainly interesting observations and opinions. I'm about to head out that way on an eating trip that will include both Manresa and TFL... it'll be an interesting comparison.

I'm trying not to set myself up for either expecting too much or too little, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I will agree with what alanamoana and Zeemanb posted... I don't know why, but I'm getting an nimpression (perhaps based on eGullet posters) that Manresa will be the highlight of my trip... :unsure:

Based on my one meal at Per Se, I can't say that I was all that thrilled with Keller's cooking at that price... I would also agree that the intangibles certainly are a part of the Keller experience (or so it seemed), but I could do without. At any rate, I'm really looking forward to both meals, and will report when I get back.

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

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm trying not to set myself up for either expecting too much or too little, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I will agree with what alanamoana and Zeemanb posted...  I don't know why, but I'm getting an nimpression (perhaps based on eGullet posters) that Manresa will be the highlight of my trip... :unsure:

u.e.

As my father-in-law put it, TFL was better, but he's more likely to return to Manresa.

For me, the food at Manresa was just more exciting and intriguing. I wasn't blown away, but my curiosity was peaked to a point that I keep wondering what I would experience if I went back. If I go back to TFL, I know I'm going to get more of the same. It will be different, but it will still be the same - if that makes any sense.

Gastronomic Fight Club - Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Foodies of Omaha - Discover the Best of Omaha

Link to post
Share on other sites
As my father-in-law put it, TFL was better, but he's more likely to return to Manresa.
I see... and I understand perfectly what he means (even though I haven't been to either, I can relate with other restaurant comparisons).
For me, the food at Manresa was just more exciting and intriguing.  I wasn't blown away, but my curiosity was peaked to a point that I keep wondering what I would experience if I went back.  If I go back to TFL, I know I'm going to get more of the same.  It will be different, but it will still be the same - if that makes any sense.
Yup... totally makes sense. I keep replaying my Per Se meal in my head as I anticipate TFL... and the weiner keeps gettin' me!! :laugh:

I feel the same way with, say Moto, Alinea and Avenues. Based on my 1, 2, and 2 meals at each, respectively, I found all of them to be very dynamic and very good in their own way... but I find myself much more curious about what Bowles might create next instead of Cantu or Achatz. Cantu, I would have to say, intrigues me more than Achatz, but the last time I checked, Cantu's menu had changed in ingredients, but not as much in presentation/form as I had hoped. I could completely be wrong... but suffice it to say, I'm returning for a 3rd meal at Avenues pretty soon... in fact, I'm travelling to Chicago just to eat with Bowles and leaving the next morning. I hope Manresa doesn't hook me as much - it's a much longer trek out to Los Gatos for me than Chicago!! :laugh:

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

i have to insert a disclaimer here:

i haven't eaten at tfl or manresa...i work in the restaurant industry (actually, not working at the moment) and this is my jaded point of view after working in "high end" restaurants. i just returned to northern california after four years in new york. i didn't eat at many new york restaurants, although at times i regret that decision, because i was sort of sick of the scene. ironic (?) how one can't afford to eat at the type of restaurant one works in because one doesn't get paid enough...i can't tell you how many times i've thought to push the idea of having one day a week a "restaurant employees special" where if you showed your pay stub as proof of working in the industry, you could get 50% of the food portion of your bill or something like that at any participating restaurant. think how much of an education that would be for cooks?!

so please take my comments with a grain of salt.

Link to post
Share on other sites
i have to insert a disclaimer here:

i haven't eaten at tfl or manresa...i work in the restaurant industry (actually, not working at the moment) and this is my jaded point of view after working in "high end" restaurants.  i just returned to northern california after four years in new york.  i didn't eat at many new york restaurants, although at times i regret that decision, because i was sort of sick of the scene.  ironic (?) how one can't afford to eat at the type of restaurant one works in because one doesn't get paid enough...i can't tell you how many times i've thought to push the idea of having one day a week a "restaurant employees special" where if you showed your pay stub as proof of working in the industry, you could get 50% of the food portion of your bill or something like that at any participating restaurant.  think how much of an education that would be for cooks?!

so please take my comments with a grain of salt.

I LOVE this idea as I happen to agree with you.

When i was working in NYC I ate at my restaurant so much my chef comped me most of the time because he knew I was such a fan of the food I would have been there anyways!

2317/5000

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I'm BACK... well, not really. I'm still on the road - eating like a glutton. But, I wanted at least report to you all that I had a fantabulous meal at Manresa this week. The details are forthcoming.

Chef Kinch and his staff really took great care of my party and I had a specatular time. I will have to agree with other assessments that this is one of the most exciting restaurants that I have eaten at. The preparations were wonderful, creative, thoughtful and above all - tasty!

You can see my entire meal here: ulterior epicure's manresa set on flickr.

More later.

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pedro Ximenes sauce!

:biggrin:

Did Chef Kinch anticipate your party after reading eGullet?

Looks fantastic, even though I am only part way through.

Look forward to hearing more about your trip.

~Erik

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm BACK...  well, not really.  I'm still on the road - eating like a glutton.  But, I wanted at least report to you all that I had a fantabulous meal at Manresa this week.  The details are forthcoming.

Chef Kinch and his staff really took great care of my party and I had a specatular time.  I will have to agree with other assessments that this is one of the most exciting restaurants that I have eaten at.  The preparations were wonderful, creative, thoughtful and above all - tasty!

You can see my entire meal here: ulterior epicure's manresa set on flickr.

More later.

u.e.

Told you. :biggrin:

Robert R

Link to post
Share on other sites
Did Chef Kinch anticipate your party after reading eGullet?

One would think so - it was almost uncanny. If you read the description of that course: "Strawberry on the plancha," you'll notice that I actually comment on the coincidence.

Also, the John Dory had been spiked with a bit of espelette pepper. What is interesting about that is that I tasted espelette for the first time at an ingredients/condiment tasting the night before in a city in another part of the U.S.!! It's as if Chef Kinch had a bug on me! :laugh:

Looks fantastic, even though I am only part way through.
It was fantastic.
Look forward to hearing more about your trip.

To be sure - I'll be posting more about Manresa later - as well, The Dining Room, The French Laundry, Chez Panisse and more - in their respective threads, of course! :wink:

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent photos and descriptions, U.E. Although our meals had a few of the same dishes and a number of dishes that were similar in conception, I am amazed with how many of the dishes were different! Chef Kinch has a truly amazing arsenal of dishes at his disposal. Bravo!

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 post
Share on other sites
Excellent photos and descriptions, U.E. Although our meals had a few of the same dishes and a number of dishes that were similar in conception, I am amazed with how many of the dishes were different! Chef Kinch has a truly amazing arsenal of dishes at his disposal. Bravo!

Ya, I went to Manresa pretty much right in the middle of you two, and you can see the progression between your meal, my meal, and u.e.'s meal. Pretty amazing indeed!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry it’s taken me so long to get my review of Manresa up. As I had five very involved dinners on my latest trip to S.F./Napa Valley, I will only be posting a text review of each restaurant. The photos of my Manresa meal can be seen here on my flickr account.

Amuses:

1. Red peppercorn "pate de fruits" and black olive madeleines

2. Citrus salad

A martini glass held a small citrus salad of tangerines and grapefruit sections topped with a rhubarb gelee and toasted Marcona almonds. All of this was topped with a horchata foam.

Taste: I absolutely loved the chalky-nuttiness of the horchata foam (a Mexican milky beverage made of almonds, barley, rice and tigernuts). The citrus salad beneath was also very bright and refreshing - but not overly tart despite the rhubarb gelatin.

3. Parmesan churros.

Tastes just like it sounds - except the inside wasn't as doughy-soft as regular churros. This was rather crisp through-out. Regardless, terribly good, visually stunning and a wonderfully up-ending play on the traditional sweet treat.

4. Chestnut and foie gras croquettes.

Taste: My friend LOVED this amuse. I must admit, Kinch's is a much more successful version than the ones I had at Hof van Cleve (*** Michelin star, Belgium) the winter before.

Unlike Goossens croquettes, these were significantly firmer and less sweet. As well, I could taste both the chestnut and foie, unlike the ones at HvC, which tasted almost like taro pudding.

5. Turnip-brioche royale

Turnip soup thickened with brioche and topped with cinnamon-infused olive oil. The royale contained silken cubes of foie gras mousse.

Taste: If this wasn't already buttery-creamy rich enough of a soup - the royale contained a generous cube of foie gras moussethat was silkier and softer than even the most delicate custard or silken tofu I've ever had. As you can see, it fell apart when I tried to raise it for a picture.

I loved this royale. Although it was very rich, I had no problem finishing it all. The sweet-earthy turnip was definitely a pronounced flavor that shined through the thick creaminess of the royale and foie gras cube. As well, the cinnamon-infused olive oil added an unexpected spicy touch.

6. Oyster in sea urchin jelly

The title of this course is deceptive. The fat Millcove oyster sits with a small lobe of sea urchin and is covered in a sea water jelly and garnished with Meyer lemon zest.

Taste: FRESH. It was excitingly briny without being "fishy" at all. The plump oyster and the uni and the cool, refreshing sea water jelly (which I feared would be too "fishy-tasting") were refreshing and cool. No need for any dressing other than the lemon zest and the occasional crunch of sea salt that slipped in when I tilted the shell back. This was fussiest un-fussy oyster on a half-shell I've ever had. Daringly complex in a stunningly simple presentation.

7. Arpege Egg

Can you believe we’re still on the amuses??

Alain Passard's famous Arpege Egg contains a poached egg yolk topped with chives and a generous dollop of sherry vinegar-whipped cream. The cream topping is drizzled with a touch of maple syrup and garnished with fleur de sel.

Taste: The sherry cream was wonderful against the warm gooey yolk at the heart of this amuse. However, the real treat was the how the maple syrup and fleur de sel played off each other in a delightful and tasty sub-plot.

Main Courses:

1st Course: Mesquite-grilled foie au torchon

My generous 4-5 oz. cut of foie au torchon had been grilled over Mesquite charcoals and dusted with crunchy sea salt. The foie was accompanied by a date "consomme" (slightly gelatinized) and a Meyer lemon mustard. Three matchsticks of crunchy vegetables also came with the dish - rutabaga, yellow carrot and celery.

Taste: I have had foie gras au torchon ten ways to Timbuktu, but never grilled or smoked with an aromatic wood. This course was very creative and a different take on what could have been yet another boring presentation of foie gras. I especially loved playing with the date jelly and the Meyer lemon mustard. As well, I really appreciated the crunchy bits of sea salt that adorned the top.

My only criticism with this course is that it was WAY TOO LARGE. I must admit that I love foie gras - but in moderation, as it very rich. This portion must have been at least a good four to five ounces. Generous, to be sure, but problematic as the first course (following a parade of impressive and substantial amuses)... and DAMN self-control - I finished the whole thing... but regretted it right after because it really took a cut off of my palate for the rest of the meal. I think this course would have been great had it been a quarter of the portion.

Other than the portion-sizing, the flavors and concept was outstanding.

2nd Course: Strawberries a la plancha

A single strawberry halved and grilled with a Pedro Ximenes sauce. They sit on a bed of strawberry "salsa" that included chives and infused with vanilla beans. The strawberry is garnished with a shaving of Parmesan cheese and bits of toasted Marcona almonds.

Taste: Both my dinner companion and I loved this simple, yet complex course. This course was a marriage of fruity-sweet and savory. The strawberry halves were sweet and fruity - and slightly smokey from the grilling. However, all of the accompinments injected a definite savoriness - chives and toasted Marcona almonds in the salsa, as well as the Parmesan garnish. Yet, lingering in the shadows, is a pronounced vanilla bean infusion that reminds the diner that the spotlight is still on the fruit and sweetness of it. At the same time, the vanilla showed me that traditionally savory and sweet flavors can play together quite nicely.

The usage of Pedro Ximenes in this course was uncanny, given my latest fascination with the dessert wine. It's as if the chef read my mind... or was reading [a href=http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=86594&view=findpost&p=1178670]my eGullet thread[/a] on P.X.!!

3rd Course: Asparagus and egg salad

Asparagus shavings with a slightly under-cooked egg and a shaving of Parmesan cheese. The plate is dotted with baby mesclun and garnished with super crunchy bread "golden crumbs" and bits pistachio nuts. The salad is dressed very lightly with citrus vinaigrette.

Taste: Two things struck me about this dish. First, I loved the texture of the egg - which was half-way between poached and done. The yolk, as you can see, was solid enough to hold its shape (somewhat), yet not so firm as to be crumbly or grainy like a hard-boiled yolk. The egg whites, as well, were in a state between gelatin and raw whites.

The second thing that struck me about this salad was how much the addition of a small textural foil (crunchy bread crumbs) can enhance a dish. These little crumbles were like savory-buttery grape nuts that really made eating this dish an outstanding pleasure. Like most of Kinch's dishes: simple, yet thoughtful, different and very tasty.

4th Course: “Assorted spring fish”

Small cuts of geoduck, big fin squid and gizzard shad garnished with Konomi fern sat at the bottom of a small bowl. The assortment is finished table-side with a pouring of dried sardine-miso broth.

Taste: I appreciated this course for its cleansing effect. Not only were the fish extremely fresh, but the broth was both light and flavorful - infused with a heady dose of ginger and lemongrass. The gizzard shad was expectedly fishy and oily tasting. However, the boldness of the shad was cut by the candy-sweet and amazingly tender geoduck.

5th Course: Sea bream, sashimi-style

Thin slices of sea bream sashimi presented with "just-pressed olive oil" and garnished with shiso buds and chives.

Taste: The first thing that struck me about the taste was that it was EXREMELY salty. While I thought that to be a jarring and unexpected taste, my diner companion didn't notice it until I said something. I'm a salt-lover, so it's interesting that I would have such a reaction where another wouldn't. However, after a few bites, the saltiness mellowed out beneath the fruity "just-pressed olive oil" and the cooling-grassy-herby-minty shiso and savory chive. This course was exquisite. The fish was excruciatingly silky and soft - very tender. I could have cut them with a blunt butter knife.

6th Course: Seared bonito and epine artichoke

Three slices of tender bonito dressed in soy sauce and accompanied by three crispy fried shavings of artichoke hearts.

Taste: This was a very STRONG-flavored course. By that I mean that the bonito was very "fishy," as it usually is... for some reason, bonito has always tasted "bloody" to me... not necessarily in a bad way. However, the fishiness of this course was tempered by the soy, which both my dinner guest and I found slightly over-powering. Again, not to complain about saltiness, but I did wish that the sauce had been tempered with a touch of sweetness, or something tangy. I did detect a hint of sesame oil, which did help mellow out the soy.

7th Course: Mussels and crab with exotic Indian spices

A trio of barely cooked PEI mussels and peekytoe crab meat luxuriated in a bath of "exotic Indian spices" along with beautifully carmelized onions. The pool is topped with a foam made from the same "exotic" spices. A sliver of tangerine section simmers with the mussels.

Taste: This was by far the boldest-flavored dish of the evening. The small tangerine section, tart and citrus-y, helped cut through the oily warm curry stew. Texturally, the tangerine section also played off wonderfully with the similarly sized and tender shellfish.

The mussels were plump, tender, yet meaty. The peekytoe was a nice accompaniment - although not the main star. One of the best things about this dish was the little strands of sweet-tart carmelized onions.

This was my dinner companion's hands-down favorite dish of the evening. I don't know that it was "hands-down" my favorite - but it was certainly one of the highlights.

8th Course: "John Dory"

A petite filet of perfectly cooked John Dory (St. Pierre), "subtly spiced" with espelette pepper, came addorned with a sliver of sweet carrot and a silky pool of onion-y/garlicky sofrito. As well, the fish was sauced with a sweet carrot sauce.

Taste: This was a whole flavor party in my mouth. The savory and caramelized onion-ness of the sofrito vied with the sweet mellow and earthy sweet-carrot sauce for front and center. Lingering in the nether regions of this dish was the heat from the espelette pepper.

I’m exhausted, and hungry… I leave you to digest my review thus far.

I promise, to be continued… only six more courses to go!!

“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

Link to post
Share on other sites

... as promised:

9th Course: Abalone

A filet of abalone crowned a small bed of shredded pork trotter meat covered in a thin layer of milk skin. This "surf and turf" was sauced with brown butter and sauced with a pork fat hollandaise and avocado mousse.

Notes: Abalone is one of those luxurious foods not often indulged in outside of Asia. This version was splendid. If I had to choose a hands-down favorite of the evening - this was it. The pig trotter meat was nice and tender - but what made the dish, besides all of the flavors working in concert was the fascinatingly company of the slightly sour milk skin. YUMMY! Creative, wonderful, lusty, and satisfying!

10th Course: Roasted Sweetbreads

(Rollover picture)

Roasted veal sweetbreads with sliced Granny Smith apples and softened scallions. The server pours onion consomme around the sweetbreads at the table.

Notes: I was absolutely stunned and thrilled when the sweetbreads showed up. In fact, from my mouth the chef's ear, I had just jokingly commented to my friend during the previous abalone course that the only thing left to make this meal a complete success with me would be a serving of sweetbreads - and here they are.

To be sure, this is an interesting presentation - more so for the apple element. Curiously, I had encountered the sweetbreads and white onion combination a few months before at Per Se.

The sweetbreads were roasted to creamy perfection. I loved the warm onion consomme, which was very flavorful and complex. It didn't drown the sweetbreads, rather, somehow remained just a nice saucing element.

11th Course: Squab

(Rollover picture)

Roasted squab over a bed of beets and "beet gazpacho." The squab course also featured a lovely pork boudin noir that was spiced with allspice and clove.

Notes: I don't know what I loved more, the squab or the boudin noir. Regardless, this dish was an ode to that magnificent taste of ferric "bloodiness" that I love. I know that's an awful-sounding description, but I actually love the taste of offal and meat "au natural."

The squab meat, which has a naturally liver-y taste to it, was very tender and juicy - unlike so many dry and stringy preparations I've had the misfortune of eating. The beets, as well, added an earthy-sweet, if not visually "bloody" element to this dish. The boudin noir, however, I found to be the show-stopper on this dish. Redolent with the flavor of pork blood, it was made a true delight by overtures of allspice and clove - which added a "exoticism" that I absolutely loved.

12th Course: Wagyu

Wagyu beef tenderloin roasted in its own fat with Bourdelaise sauce and garnished with morels in a ginger and green garlic sauce.

Notes: The beef was well marbeled - and as you can see from the cross-cut picture, very moist and tender. The Bourdelaise was rich and nicely "dressed" the meat instead of drowning it. The morels, which had been rendered silky soft in a ginger and green garlick sauce, had a nice tinge of sourness that helped cut through the otherwise rich elements to this excellent beef course. What a great way to end the meat courses!

Pre-Dessert: Vanilla bean ice cream

Vanilla bean ice cream with candied fennel and celery.

Note: This is one of the richest vanilla-bean ice creams I've ever tasted. I loved the way the candied vegetables added a vegetale firmness to the creamy-sweet texture of the ice cream. I was especially at how well the anise-flavor of the fennel worked with the vanilla. A nice bit of sugar syrup from the candied vegetables also helped sweeten the otherwise all-too creamy ice cream.

1st Dessert: Buttermilk panna cotta

Buttermilk panna cotta with strawberries and Chantilly cream. The dessert is garnished with a fresh mint leaf. It is finished table-side with a drizzling of 25 year aged balsamic vinegar.

Taste: The panna cotta was refreshingly tangy and silky smooth. I really enjoyed the textural firmness of the macerated strawberries. I thought the Chantilly cream on top, which was very firm and almost like a ganache in consistency, was too rich. I let most of it uneaten on the side.

The fresh mint and deep sweetness of the aged balsamic vinegar were key.

2nd Dessert: Warm chocolate cake

Warm chocolate cake with cacoa nib ice cream on a "cacao crisp." Two dollops of chocolate ganache with crunchy sea salt.

Taste: Everything was above board. I'm not a huge dessert person, but I am a sucker for good chocolate desserts. This one did not disappoint. I loved breaking the crispy cacoa crisp and mixing it in with the cacoa nib ice cream. As well, I delighted in the chocolate and sea salt combination.

The warm chocolate cake was good - not molten runny on the inside, rather hot and buttery - very much like a dense souffle.

Migardises

Chocolate madeleines & strawberry pate de fruits.

The feast at Manresa was appropriately tied up with a "throw-back" to the beginning of the meal. However, instead of black olive madeleines and red peppercorn pate de fruit, this was a different combination - a more traditional sweet ending with chocoalte madeleines and strawberry pate de fruit.

I have to admit that the meal petered out after the meat courses - although I did truly enjoy the buttermilk panna cotta and the warm chocolate cake, I think the meats really did an outstanding job of highlighting Chef Kinch's way with meats - especially fish and seafood.

My friend and I were thrilled with our experience. As well, we got a quick peek into the kitchen where we met some of the sous chefs, as well as the boss himself.

... again, you can see all of the Manresa photos here on my flickr account. On to the next post: The Dining Room at the Ritz.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“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

Link to post
Share on other sites

UE - you write very well about food. Could you sum up your sense of the meal in relation to the others you've had recently?

"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 post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Disappointing news, indeed. However, I'd appreciate knowing, when you have the time and are willing, the details. What exactly what went wrong? You used some pretty strong descripitions.

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Post deleted by samgiovese.

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are a few details of our experience. It was our 5th anniversary and tried to make the best of the dinner even though there were many other mis-steps throughout the night.

My Wife's Arpege egg amuse bouche was fantastic as usual; mine had an abundance of salt to the point that it was inedible. My wife didn’t believe me until she tasted it and spit it out into her napkin. On a side note the dish should probably be retired since it’s been around way too long on the menu. The Parmesan chorro amuse bouche looked yummy but were so oily that an awful greasy taste overpowered this otherwise delicate treat.

Next I had the risotto with pork jowls. Although it had potential and was by far the best dish of the evening, there was a bone or some other hard substance in the dish which I bit down on and almost chipped my tooth. 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.

Next I had the slow cooked Monkfish, interesting dish with caramelized fennel but was boring with very little flavor. The table next to us observed our displeasure with the dish, and commented that they didn’t like it either.

The entrees were a disaster. The roast sucking pig was dry and had very little taste. Dry-bland would have been a great description. I had the Beef Bavvette, again someone in the kitchen over salted it to the point that it couldn't eat it.

I am not one to complain but was going to tell the waiter about over salting of the Beef dish. Unfortunately, he was overly distracted with the first-timer diners at the table next to us explaining the history of Chef Kinch and offering them a tour of the kitchen. He disappeared only to return with our bill.

During the meal, instead of asking how our dinner was, the waiter, out of no where began telling us that he used to work at the Plum Horse (a great little restaurant in Saratoga) and why he moved to Manresa and also some story about his brother. Not sure why he had to come to our table, out of the blue, and make this announcement. Very Puzzling. The bread service kept bring us more bread even though we told him that we didn’t want any more bread and the obvious pile of un-eaten bread already on our bread plate.

As I mentioned, we have eaten here five times prior and every time walked out “stunned” on how great the experience was. We have always referred to Manresa as the French Laundry of the South Bay but this experience have left us “stunned” for a much different reason.

Since we love this restaurant, I am sure we will be back since it literally down the street from us but I think we will probably wait for a while until the bad taste leaves us. no pun intended.

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.

Disappointing news, indeed. However, I'd appreciate knowing, when you have the time and are willing, the details. What exactly what went wrong? You used some pretty strong descripitions.

u.e.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...