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Restaurants & Bars 16

Manresa - a short review

danna | May 23, 201109:32 AM

We were a few minutes early for our 6:00 res, and thus sat in the sun in their beautiful courtyard with comfy chairs. It would have been a nice place to drink some champagne before dinner, but unfortunately I had to hang on to sobriety for my trip to the airport a couple of hours later. We told the maitre d' we needed to be gone by 8:30 to make the plane, and they alerted our waiter as well.

We ordered the 5 course and the waiter told us we would begin with "a series of snacks and amuse bouche" followed by the bread service as the courses began. There was 1 amuse (a delicious little leaf of crispy kale and a fritter) which I don't think qualifies as a "series". I was disappointed.

The bread service consisted of an olive batton - delicious, a salt-topped-brioche - INCREDIBLY buttery, very good hearty sourdough, and a dark multigrain.

I had a glass of Peay Chardonnay from Sonoma, they were out of the Santa Cruz Mountain selection. I'm not a huge Chard fan, but it was the closest white to local. I was disappointed that on my whole trip to Big Sur/Carmel/Monterey I never got any wine more local than Sonoma. $17 for about 4 oz.

We both had the asparagus starter, covered in sesame seeds...it was delicious. I had never had fried mussels before. My husband was convinced they were bad, i think the flavor just changes when you cook them, just like oysters.

My Into the Garden salad was spectacular. I beleive each leaf was a different lettuce or herb and there were TINY radishes, turnips, leeks, etc. The dressing was foam...possibly the best use of the mandatory foam I have seen.

My Tidal Pool was also fabulous. Uni followed by foie....i had to control myself to avoid eye-rolling and simpering like Rachel Ray. The broth was also fabulous. there was abalone as well.

My Spring lamb dish had some very interesting pickled tongue, a delicious piece of loin, and a "confit" of what I took to be leg that was not good, IMO. If I had cooked that, I would have been displeased. My husband's porcelet I like even less, although he really liked pork loin part of it...neither of us get the appeal of pork belly and fat back.

At this point we recieved a very nice little taste of sorbet/granita prior to dessert. My chocolate dessert w/ chocolate rice krispies was tasty as was my husband's strawberry affair w/ a cheesecake bite. While perfectly fine, neither of these desserts yelled out "2 Michelin Stars" to me. Oddly, before dessert, the waiter offered me coffee, saying "but I know you have to get to the airport". I took that to mean if I wanted coffee, it wouldn't come w/ dessert but would require another 10 minute wait between courses. I thought the pacing was too slow throughout the whole meal.

We were given cookies and salted caramels as parting gifts.

The verdict: It was a very nice meal. It cost just under $300 w/ only one glass of wine and before tip. when I compare it to the last grand meal I had at L20 in Chicago last fall, it falls short. Although it was all quite correct (well except for the missing amuse which i watched nearby tables receive) and everything (except that lamb leg) tasted good...sometimes very good, I didn't feel any brilliance, no genius, no flavor-burst moments that make you think, oh there's something special going on in the kitchen.

Manresa Restaurant
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

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