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Manresa "Seasonal & Spontaneous" tasting menu February 2007


Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area Tasting Menu

Manresa "Seasonal & Spontaneous" tasting menu February 2007

grocerytrekker | | Feb 7, 2007 06:12 PM

I still haven't finished writing it up. Here's what I have so far.

An intended pairing – essentially the same refreshing dish - near the beginning of the dinner, and presented again toward the end as a gentle introduction to the dessert courses.

The dish in question is citrus salad with mostly grapefruit and blood orange, served as the second amuse bouche in a bottom-heavy shot glass. Tall but stable. An appropriate mini spoon is perfect for digging out the goodies lightly buried in translucent jasmine tea gelee, sprinkled with tiny sprigs of mint.

After all the savory courses, a citrus salad with similar grapefruit and blood orange mix was presented on a pretty rectangular white plate. In place of mint, I found the enchanting presence of whole rosemary flowers. Tiny petals packed with perfume, adding velvety texture and color to the pretty dish.


Two simple churro sticks in a tall cup, one slightly longer than the other, bent slightly, like a playful modern arrangement in a small vase. This was the third amuse bouche, placed in the middle of the table.

There is a consistent theme throughout the dinner, and that is his presentation of contrasting flavors as distinct individual flavors, mixed only after you take a bite. The hint is given early in the amuse bouches I have yet to cover, and in the butter for the bread. Unsalted butter is placed on a thin square slab of beautiful dark stone. Maldon salt comes sprinkled on top of the butter. Savory sweet and salty start out separately, but sing in your mouth in snappy harmony. (Bread choices - batard, sourdough or green olive bread.)

The churro was no exception. On the inside, the velvety parmesan (yes, parmesan cheese) was sweetly soft and demure, and all the sparkle came from the salty crispness on the outside.


The first savory course. Mesquite wood smoked duck foie gras, with miner's lettuce, rosemary vinegar infused pear slivers. Tonka bean powder was sprinkled on the plate.

The foie gras was a firm, red, generous portion of heavenly goodness. This was easily one of the best dishes of the evening.

Miner's lettuce - I was positive I was eating shamrock - the heart-shaped green I once played with (and ate). It tasted just like it. I don't know...

The third savory course was, in a nutshell, a dish of gnocchis, a dollop of creamy cheese, garden vegetables + foam.

A little dish. Not so little were the efforts which resulted in this divine creation. Luca the waiter reported, with mock sadness, that the vegetables were living in their own biodynamic garden until that very afternoon, until around 3:30 pm. I located a perky miniature carrot the size of a pine nut. A cute baby turnip. There was a tiny spinach leaf, a broccoli floret the size of my thumbnail, and a tiny piece of light green vegetable I saw in Paris but had never eaten before. More about this fascinating vegetable later. All these baby vegetables were individually poached in its own little pot, in its own rich vegetable broth, with different optimum cooking times. Then they were all assembled together, and presented with pieces of gnocchi and rich vegetable broth foam.

Burrata is a pure white cheese made with water buffalo milk. Luca with a heavy accent (I pictured subtitles on his chin - wishful thinking) enunciated “booffalo” several times. A fresh and creamy treat.

The light green vegetable which delights a Paris market shopper, which prompts musings of the Fibonacci sequence...? It's romanesque, or romanesque broccoli, the “fractal vegetable”. The geometric symmetry is mesmerizing, discernible even as a little tiny piece.
With its firm texture and taste reminiscent of young broccoli or cauliflower, it held its own among absolutely gorgeous itty-bitty vegetables in the burrata and gnocchi dish I mentioned in the previous post. A vegetable to savor? Precisely.

Fourth savory course - a lavish piece of red Monterey abalone steak.

It lay on a blanket of snow white milk skin. A simple accompaniment of delectable golden nuggets of cauliflower tempura (deep-fried in peanut oil).

I’ve played with milk skin before, and I am not talking about a skin care product. You know, the thin film which forms over boiled milk. I didn’t realize such a generous portion, the size of a wonton wrapper, was even possible to retrieve in solid sheets, but here it was, wholesome yet sensual.

I am still working on the rest of the dishes. For updates, check in at

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