Last Saturday night, my wife and I joined her brother and his wife for dinner at Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos.
We had the tasting menu -- must have been about 12 courses -- and I cannot adequately describe the truly fantastic meal we had there. Suffice it to say the food was amazing -- indeed, this was one of hte best meals I've had since Paris last June -- and we are definitely looking forward to returning sooner rather than later.
The meal itself was stunning -- from the very first amuse bouche (a black olive madeline accompannied by a fruit gelée but made from red bell pepper) to the last of the desserts (a chocolate madeline with a strawberry fruit gelée). Each and every dish was amazing . . .
A cube the size of a Vegas die, made of romaine and cheese, accented with hebs, lightly breaded and then flash-fried so the inside was pure liquid that explodes when you pop it in your mouth and causes you to swoon with delight.
A "soft egg" -- a soft boiled egg that was turned into a mousse and served in the shell with a bit of heavy cream, sherry vinegar, and a dollop of maple syrup -- an improbable sounding dish that was heavenly.
To accompany these, we had a bottle of
1996 Drappier Brut Carte d'Or (Champagne, France): This cuvée is approximately 90 percent Pinot Noir, the balance being devided between Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier (but I'm not surehow much of each). Golden-straw in color, with a lively mousse and fine bead; the bouquet is quite rich and complex, with lots of yeasty brioche notes, hazelnuts, lemon curd, honeysuckle and dried fruits; on the palate, this is a big, mouth-filling wine loaded with flavor and depth; very complex, well-balanced, with a rich, lingering finish. Fantastic
Then, we moved on to foie gras and Sauternes . . .
And then to more dishes, and to accompany them, a bottle of
2004 Domaine de Bellivière Jasnières “Les Rosier” (Loire, France): I just had this wine about ten days ago, at the Louis/Dressner tasting. The bouquet is very floral and aromatic -- like a Chenin but with some Viognier or Alvarinho blended in (though it is pure Chenin Blanc); on the palate, the wine is very elegant and stylish, eith a blend of ripe quince, melon, kumquat, apricot, peach and more; nicely balanced, and a long, lush, dry finish. Just wonderful.
An oyster on the half-shell with a bit of uni was gone all too quickly, but the intensity and purity of flavor lingered.
A sea bream and fresh sweet English baby pea in a bit of light broth that charmed the palate.
A Copper River salmon, smoked and cooked to perfection, served with its own roe that brought all conversation to a sudden halt, as we savored it in absolute silence . . .
On to our red wine, a bottle of
2000 Niepoort Redoma Vinho Tinto (Douro, Portugal): Deep and dark garnet red in color, clear and clean; the bouquet is a seamless blend of ripe plums, black fruits, spice and some earth, accented with espresso and chocolate notes; on the palate, the wine is at once rich without being full, mouth-filling without overpowering; it is well-balanced, with good structure and fine tannins; the generous flavors in t he mouth echo the wine's bouquet and the finish is exceptionally long and flavorful. Superb!
Abalone in a brown butter, so tender, so sweet, so perfect, so --
A leg and breast of squab that was tender and rich, perfectly done and oh-so-good . . .
A dish of sliced lamb, with a coconut-cream sauce and Indian spices that practically melted in your mouth . . .
Then, onto desserts . . .
Individual white chocolate ice cream coanes that did mwelt in your mouth . . .
A scoop of chocolate mousse, served with a scoop of olive oil ice cream, a hint of sea salt, and "chocolate paper" that made you think you had died and gone to heaven . . .
And the aforementioned chocolate madelines
Sigh . . .