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Weekend Eats Report: Quince and Mankas

Andrew | Oct 20, 2005 02:17 PM

It was my birthday and my wife fed me well! Saturday night she made osso bucco with risotto with black and gold chanterelles. The best meal all weekend ; )

Quince, Friday Night

Our first time here. The food was very, very good. We loved the rolls they serve, which taste and feel like they are full of olive oil, and covered with a sprinkling of hard cheese. I'd just eat those all night! I had escargot with polenta in a tomatoe/mint sauce. Very earthy and very good. My wife had Monterey Bay sardines, grilled, which were outstanding. But the best dishes were the pastas! I had octopus with garlic and wine and my wife had spiny lobster. In both cases the sauce made the dish. Each was rich with lots of depth of flavor, with an earthy taste. The spiny lobster tasted like lobster essence; not just the tail but the whole thing. I then had chicken for the main course, roughly chopped and rolled up in the skin. Certainly good but not outstanding. Desserts were a mini apple pie - very, very good -- and a cheese course. I could have tasted for free at the Cheese Board for the amount of cheese they served in their portions. Pinot by the glass was very, very good!

The downside was the service. Very stuffy, and in fact it was clumsy at times. At one point they brought us someone else's dishes, realized their mistake, then whisked them away and out one door and back in through another door, and served them to the table next to us. As if no one would notice! At times it felt like the room was full of waitstaff bustling about. It felt too busy, and there was a head person always eyeing the room from the corner. You felt like the school marm was watching you.

Mankas, Sunday Afternoon

By this time I was beginning to get my fill, but I was still looking forward to an early dinner at Mankas. It starts around 4 and is a full-service formal dinner. Fixed menu. Started with a pumpkin soup with chestnuts and some kind of oil or sauce on top. It was outstanding! Next up was salmon smoked in their fireplace. Super tasty, with a wonderful, rich smoky flavor! Then, pork loin and REAL bacon from the fireplace, with potatoes. Super rich and wonderful. The a salad with figs, a local, super creamy cheese, and a port sauce. Dessert was three courses: a spice cake, ginger ice cream with chocolate sauce, and ??? Wines by the glass were just OK and expensive.

It was a LONG dinner, almost 3 hours, and we were both alreayd a bit tired from the big event weekend. The course were quick to eat, but the time between them was long. The service was efficient, but removed. But I always love the feel at Mankas and wished we could have stayed the night. There is no where like Pt. Reyes!

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