Restaurant Review - September 1, 2007 - Joanne

Manresa Restaurant Los Gatos

Manresa Restaurant
Los Gatos, CA

Visited March 25, 2006 – Dinner

Our first visit to the heralded Manresa was a fabulous, 22-course special dinner prepared for us by Chef David Kinch. It was arranged by Alder of Vinography, and resulted in a very memorable meal which had impeccable attention to detail, exciting ingredients and exquisite presentation. The strength of the menu was the seafood and fish in all forms.

Manresa has a delicate, worldly bent to its cuisine. The Japanese influence is perhaps the strongest, with French close behind. If weaknesses can be suggested it would be the main meat courses, which tend to make the meat the star (if that could be called a flaw), but they just didn't excite us as much. The wine program could use some tweaking as well, with the addition of more exciting and racy choices (where are the Friuli whites?!) to complement the menu.

All-in-all, this was the by far our finest meal of 2006. We highly recommend Manresa.

To start:Red Bell Pepper pastes and Black Olive Madelines
Petit fours "red pepper-black olive"
Red Bell Pepper Gelée with Black Olive Madelines. A play on fruit pastes and madelines. The red bell pepper flavor truly respected the essence of bell pepper. The black olive madelines were intensely olive.

Orange Champagne granite
Medjool date and Champagne Cocktail
Orange Champagne Granite with Saffron Gelee and Date Foam. The date essence was a bit lost to me. The saffron gelee on its own was very interesting.

Foie Gras with Chestnut
Chestnut croquettes
Foie Gras with Chestnut. A pop-in-your-mouth deep-fried ball with a liquid center and just a hint of chestnut. Very nice.

Sea Urchin Shooter
Sea Urchin Shooter
with Citrus and Ginger. Perfect Sea Urchin in a bright citrus ponzu (tangerine oil and soy sauce) with a hint of scallion. Delicious. Highly recommended. We could have made a meal out of these.

Turnip Brioche Soup with Foie Gras Custard
Turnip and foie gras royale
Turnip Brioche Soup with Foie Gras Custard.
The foie gras on the bottom was an intense element. There was a drop of cinnamon oil. The brioche was used to thicken the soup. The soup was a delicate white turnip flavor.

Oyster with Sea Urchin & Seawater Gelee
Oyster in urchin jelly
Oysters with Sea Urchin & Seawater Jelly. A tiny bit of lemon zest. Very clean finish. The gelee brings all the elements together. The oysters were Petit Pt. Reyes.

the arpege egg
Arpége Egg
Vanilla Bean Syrup with a soft poached Araucana egg in sherry vinegar. Like a frisée lardon salad without the frisée and lardons.

Mesquite Grilled Foie Gras
Mesquite Grilled Foie Gras, calamondin caramel. The caramel was a citrus caramel sauce with Welsh sea salt. The foie gras tasted like a kobe filet or grilled burger patty. It was very buttery and mesquite-y. Decadent and slightly scandalous.

Cured Mackerel with Beet Coulis
Beet gazpacho, cured mackerel and osetra caviar salad.
The Mackerel was fresh and clean. It was a great pairing with the beet which was pure and pungent. I wanted to lick, scrape or sop the plate clean – but I needed something with which to do that, and in that way only could the dish have been improved.


Assorted Spring fish, dried sardine broth
Geoduck Clam, Big fin Squid, Kinome.
Miso infused shitake mushroom. Kinome has a lemon-balm-like finish. A very Kaiseki-like dish.

Sea Urchin & Dungeness Crab
Sea urchin and Dungeness crab, lightly spiced coconut milk
Thai-style sauce, served in the sea urchin shell. The sea urchin was really, really good but this dish overall was not a favorite.

Nantucket Bay Scallop
Scallop and its tripe, black truffles
A Nantucket Bay Scallop with Black Truffle Ragout. The scallop was very fresh. This dish makes me like truffles.

Roasted Long Black Spanish Radish
Kohada, shad rose, roasted black radish
Roasted Long Black Spanish Radish with Shad Roe and cured Shad Gizzard
The radish was sweet and buttery. The shad gizzard was sausage-like – great. There was a vinegar element reminiscent of boquerones – which added a slightly bitter finish.


Aji with pea shell bouillon
Steamed Aji with Spring Peas and Spring Pea Shoots.

Salt cod confit, surf clam and saffron rice
Alaskan Surf Clam on Biodynamic Risotto
Topped with salt cod confit. Cooked Sous Vide. The elements of saffron and salt cod mesh well. There was Italian cilantro as an element as well. Good flavors with a fresh finish.

Veal Sweetbreads
Sweetbreads roasted whole, wild onion consomme
Veal Sweetbreads with Spring Onion & Sherry Consomme. Great! Sweetbreads were spicy and crispy. The meat was fork tender and the flavors all meshed well. A great dish.

Squab with young beets, homemade vinegar
Roasted Squab with Marinated beet, Porcini Mushroom and Black Truffle. The beet was on top of Porcini Puree. The squab was perfectly cooked.


Kid goat braised in aromatic spice, white yam and coconut milk
Braised Kid with White Yam, Fava Beans and Exotic Indian Spices. There was definitely vanilla in the braise. The spices came from Ludo Lefebvre (formerly of Bastide in LA).

Comte from Bernard Antony
The world's greatest cheese...
2001 Comté (five-years-old!*) from Bernard Antony. Deep flavor with lots of protein crystals. Not a long finish but truly excellent. (*Often the best Comté is aged 16-18 months.)

Strawberry and Rhubarb foam with lemon curd
Strawberry salad with rhubarb and lemon
Strawberry and Rhubarb Foam with Lemon Curd and Mint Shreds. The foam was sweeter than expected – elements went well together.


Warm date cake with braised pineapple and vanilla bean ice cream
There was also Caramelized Pear in the ice cream. Good, but not a strong finish.

Chocolate risotto, sour cherries
Bio Chocolate Risotto with White Coffee Ice Cream, Sour Cherry Hazelnut wafer on the bottom

Finale:
Petit Fours "chocolate-strawberry" Strawberry fruit gelée and chocolate madelines. A nod to the first amuse. The gelees and madelines were almost the same color but very different in flavor. A nice finish.

We brought our own wines:Gravner, Fiorano, Movia bottles

1989 Fiorano Semillon Botte 46
Fresh. White fish nose. Not a salty but a meaty nose. Clear crisp and crystalline. (back label)

1999 Gravner Breg
Cotton candy nose and a golden center. (back label)

1996 Marcel Deiss Burg Riesling
Notes of candied orange. A golden center with petrol as a strong element. Very dry finish.

1997 Movia Pinot Nero

1995 Marcel Deiss Burg Gewurztraminer VT
Special Dinner Notes - September 1, 2007 - Jack

Roses at Manresa
The Early Spring Garden:
Dinner with
Alain Passard of L’Arpége
at Manresa Restaurant

March 11, 2007 - Dinner

David Kinch & Alain Passard prepared a special meal featuring the bounty of spring vegetables.

Garden Croquettes and our radishes
Garden Croquettes and our radishes
Amazing radish to a non-radish eater.

Epinards et mousseline de carrottes
Épinards et mousseline de carottes à l’orange

Consomme of Osetra Caviar
Consommé of osetra caviar, seaweed brioche with farm butter
The butter was from Andante Dairy - and was specially made for this dinner. It tastes like the ocean. The consomme was really wonderful. The butter was also really excellent.

Poireaux au beurre
Poireaux au beurre, émulsion à l’huître et vinaigre (cepage muscadet)


Monterey Bay abalone, a broken egg and vegetables from the garden

Lotte
Lotte, moutarde oncteuese d’Orleans, pomme de terre fumé au bois de hetre

Ris de Veau
Ris de veau pôelé et châtaignes effilées à la truffe noire


Roast spring lamb, young vegetables perfumed with dates

Carottes sauce au chocolate
Carottes, sauce au chocolate <araguani>

Meyer Lemon Souffle
Meyer lemon soufflé and other citrus (Gene Lester)

Petits fours du jardin

We brought the Sake with us to the dinner: Sato No Homare Pride of the Village Junmai Ginjo

Satono Homare Sake

We brought some other wines (not listed), but also enjoyed these wines by the glass that were specially chosen for the event:
1988 Beaucastel
2002 Lignier-Belair Richebourg
2003 Bernard Morey Santenay Les Fussiene




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