Sunday, March 29, 2009

Manresa in Los Gatos

Manresa at Los GatosManresa earned its two Michelin stars a few years back. Chez TJ in nearby Mountain View lost a star this year, but chef David Kinch has had no such hiccup. Unlike many other celebrity chefs, David is known to personally conjure up his culinary art form at Manresa every night. The food - a combination of French and Catalan influenced cooking - is brought to you in the form of a three-course, four-course or a Chef's tasting menu that changes every day.

The exquisitely presented dishes are served in a large, simple dining room. Heavy silk curtains, rugs on the polished floors and stained wooden beams are the only adornments. Chef Kinch's pursuit for exceptional ingredients led to a partnership with a nearby biodynamic farm. All vegetables, fruits and eggs are sourced fresh every day from here.

Manresa at Los Gatos
Breads at ManresaWe decided to go with the four course dinner tonight. As we sipped on a Syrah, they brought in fresh bread and a slab of butter sprinkled with sea-salt. The amuse-bouches followed. The first one was interesting and tasted exactly like the pumpkin flower pakoras that were made at home during childhood days - a rarity now.

Arpege egg at Manresa
Amuse Bouche at ManresaNext came their signature Arpege egg, named after the L'Arp├Ęge restaurant in Paris and its owner Alain Passard, who apparently inspired the dish. The Arpege egg is served with the shell neatly cut off at the top so you can scoop out of it with a little silver spoon. It was topped with a sherry vinaigrette and maple syrup and was absolutely delicious. You first note the cool, refreshing, slightly sweet creaminess, that is then followed by a warm runniness of the egg yolk, finally followed by a sharp saltiness at the very end.

Sea Bream at ManresaOur first course arrived. I had chosen a sea bream, sashimi style seasoned with olive oil and chives. This dish was very good - the chives and olive oil really brought out the flavor of the fish. The root vegetable risotto made without rice - with mushrooms and parmigiano reggiano - was very interesting too.

Root vegetable Risotto without Rice at ManresaNext came the sea bass and brocolli with salsify chips and a 'norinade' of razor clams. This dish was good too and more substantive than the preceding ones. While I enjoyed the flavors of the greens and the fish, I didn't find it extraordinary. My friend enjoyed the Dungeness crab and mussels with avocade, blood orange and 'exotic' spices.

Sea Bass at Manresa
Dungeness Crab at ManresaThe next dish was the beef bavette roasted in its own fat served with brassicas in anchovy vinaigrette - a variety of mustard greens. Now this dish was quite exquisite! The texture and taste of the meat -done just right - along with the greens was truely delectable.

Beef Bavette at ManresaFinally, came the desserts. Mine was an exotic citrus dessert made from oro blanco and wikiwa tangelo and temple tangor - exotic citrus fruits I had never heard of until now - prepared with honey, spice and spearmint ice cream. The dessert was very tangy and refreshing!

The dark chocolate hazelnut feuillentine with olive oil ice cream and sea salt looked delightful too.

Exotic Citrus Dessert at Manresa
Dark chocolate hazelnut feuillentine at ManresaOverall, a darn good dining experience. However, to really do justice to this place, I have to be back for the Chef's tasting menu which has over 15 courses, and can take up to four hours to finish.

Manresa in Los GatosLos Gatos is among the most upscale residential suburbs in the Silicon Valley, located at the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains. Manresa is named after the medieval town in the Catalonia region of northern Spain famous for its Gothic basilica and monastery. There is also a beautiful stretch of beach south of Santa Cruz, which the Jesuits of early California named Manresa. Manresa is located at 320 Village Lane in Los Gatos. Please note that finding parking here can be a little tricky.

Other reviews of Bay Area Michelin-starred restaurants: Chez TJ, Boulevard, One Market, Ame, Fleur De Lys.


Anonymous said...

I hope one day I will be able to eat diner at a proper Michelin star restaurant! Must be a great experience.

By the way, I have a food series at my blog right now, you may be interested :-)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@Zhu: Oh yes, I will be following your food posts from South America very closely. If you have noticed, I have been trying a lot of South American restauranrs lately.

Aathira Nair said...

Ahh....Now thats also added to my list of 'To do'

Anonymous said...

@Aathira: :)

Lakshmi said...

amazed at the variety of jargons in agriculture today..

Anonymous said...

@Lakshmi: You are spot on! I hadn't heard of biodynamic until I ate here. Americans do a good job of coming up with yet another new health fad every year. Anyone remember Atkins diet? :)

ChuckEats said...

I definitely think you should get the chef's tasting menu to get the full range of his dishes - from the veggies to the fish to the meat.

Freight Forwarder said...

World-Link International Logistics - Australia's premier logistics provider. Sea Freight, Air Freight, Freight Forwarding, Cargo, Customs Brokerage.

Anonymous said...

@ChuckEats: Welcome here! You have an awesome food blog.