Sunday, June 20, 2010

Manresa, Los Gatos

Recently, I had dinner at Manresa in Los Gatos. It has been on my list of places to try, and finally I got around to going. I had very high expectations going in, which probably hurt the experience some. I am just too lazy to write much, but I will give a short review.

I have to say that Manresa provides some very creative and original dishes. I think that's really great, and it's probably one of the best reasons to go. However, a few of the dishes were what I would consider a miss. Most noticeable was one soft shell crab dish with yuzu flavor and some chorizo paste. The yuzu was just overpowering, and we felt that it heavily detracted from what could have been. And, the beef bavette looked much better than it actually was, as it was not cooked quite to perfection and one of the three pieces was rather tough. It really could have been a great dish. The flavor was just right as was everything else with that dish.

To be fair, the dishes that worked out were not just good, they were great. If you are willing to chance the occasional sub-par dish, then it might be worth your while to come here. If the price were better, I would go again and give them another try. I felt that overall, the experience was not quite worth the price. Personally, I'm a little surprised by their 2-star Michelin rating, but maybe it was just an off day for them -- for example, I thought the food at Melisse and Spago, both 2-stars, were a fair bit better, and I felt that Le Cirque and some other 1-stars were better as well.

The service was very good throughout the entire meal, which lasted just around three hours. And, I thought the presentation of food was decent as well. I did have one minor complaint about the seating arrangements, and that is the tables were really close together. Maybe others don't mind, but to me, it felt just a tad cramped.

Anyway, here are pictures from that evening.

Manresa - the outside

Amuse - Raspberry Gazpacho

Amuse - Arpege Egg
(this was delicious)

Japanese Sea Bream Sashimi in Chives and Oil

Into the vegetable garden... their natural juices

Soft Shell Crab with yuzu flavor and chorizo paste

Monterey Abalone with Mushrooms
(this was great)

Napa Valley Lamb and Tongue Confit
(another winner)

Beef Bavette with pickled ramps

Intermezzo - Nasturtium Sorbet and Granita

Cheese Plate - Manchego, Tomme, Chimay, Camembert

Flavors of New Orleans: Coffee, chicory, pecan praline, beignets, and banana