Manresa – Los Gatos

This is from a meal 4 years ago, but I thought I would add it as I had posted about the beggar’s purses at Manresa. Plus this meal really deserves to be written-up. 

My birthday dinner at Manresa was perfect in every way. To say that Chef Kinch outdid himself is an understatement. Not only did my husband and Chef Kinch have numerous emails to coordinate plans, but my son surprised me by driving 6 hours for dinner and leaving the next morning at 6 am to drive home. 

You will notice that none of the current signature dishes i.e. “Into the vegetable garden” were included as Chef Kinch hadn’t created them yet!

 david's cromesquis

Salt cod bunyols- these were salt cod frittes with honey water


soup

Blue crab soup with Thai curry spices – this was perfect – the Thai spices were not in your face, but enhanced rather than masked the crab. The broth was exquisite with a wonderful depth of flavor.

 

beggars 1

Beluga caviar beggar’s purses and…

beggars 2

…More beluga caviar beggar’s purses

beggars 3

and more beluga caviar beggar’s purses – Chef Kinch did this as a favor for my birthday. I remember having these at Quilted Giraffe many, many years ago and he was kind enough to repeat the experience – decadent. Also, these were served in 3 separate services – made to order, perfect temperature, very labor intensive.

oyster

 Oyster and sea urchin in their own gelee with Meyer lemon – this was sensational – a match made in heaven. I think this dish showcases Chef Kinch’s cuisine; there is nothing extraneous on the plate, the less is more doctrine rules and the ingredients are pristine.

 

first fish

Kin-medai, sashimi-style, with olive oil and chives – Kin-medai is golden butterfish. It was exquisite. I am constantly amazed by Chef Kinch’s understanding and handling of fish. It almost, but not quite, makes me willing to give up Japanese sashimi at Urasawa.

 

2nd fish

Wild striped jack with a 30 second marinade – The jack was from Japan and our server mentioned that the marinade was “high quality” soy sauce and grapeseed oil. I forgot to ask what he meant by high quality soy sauce, but I am assuming we are not talking Kikkoman! Again, fish in Chef Kinch’s hands is a magical ingredient.

 Manresa scallop

Just shucked scallops perfumed with yuzu – This was a tour de force – the essence of scallops without one extraneous note.

 

truffles

 Monterey Bay Spot prawns on the Plancha with Sunchoke Puree and Black Truffle Butter and Truffles 

 

Manresa martini caviar

Pea shell bouillon with spot prawn consommé, caviar – this was the only weak dish of the night – the caviar got lost and there was just too much going on. At another dinner, Chef Kinch had done just shucked scallops with watercress vichyssoise topped by Iranian Osetra Caviar and I liked this combination better. I think the addition of the spot prawn consommé destroyed the balance of this dish.

 

lobster

Maine Lobster gently warmed in hydromel with ginger, yellowfoot mushrooms and savoy cabbage – the lobster was sweet, tender and for me the critical, very picky Bostonian when it comes to lobster, it was cooked perfectly. The hydromel, a mixture of water and honey that becomes mead when fermented, reflected the sweetness of the lobster in a good way with the ginger adding a spark.

 

squid

Baby eels, traditional style with garlic, olive oil and red pepper – this took me back to Spain instantly and served as a great transitional course.

 

sweetbreads

Local Abalone with braised pig’s feet with milk skin with brown butter – The pig’s foot is actually wrapped in the skin that forms when you boil milk and that film forms on the top – A delicious meat/fish combination.

 

meat 2

Mignon of Suckling pig with Boudin “black and white”, green garlic emulsion – A++ – this was over the top sensational – as close to a French boudin noir I have had in the States

 

blacck needles

Sweetbreads with parsnip milk, mushrooms and truffles

 

pork

36 hour braised lamb shoulder with chestnut and ginger puree –  I particularly liked the accompaniment of the chestnut and ginger puree. The lamb was fork tender and melted in your mouth.

 

lamb

Mignons of venison with English Pea Puree, carrots and Venison Jus – the venison was tender, beautifully cooked and full of flavor.

 

dessert 1

Saffron panna cotta, figs with pistachio

 

dessert 2

Strawberry beignets with bergamot cream

 

dessert 3

Chocolate soufflé with caramel ice cream, square of chocolate brownie

 

dessert 4

Hot chocolate

 

dessert 5

Lychee sorbet, pineapple and passionfruit

My favorite of the desserts was the strawberry beignets, but I must admit that my note taking was taking a dive and barely legible.

My husband’s comments on our BYO wines:

’88 Krug–fabulous, full bodied, perfect with early dishes.

’02 Montrachet Bouchard…fabulous, this is the best white wine in the world…we had some conversation about the Domaine Romanee Conti Le Montrachet.  It may be better, but this was awfully good.  It is hard to describe how the Montrachet (that tiny plot in Burgundy) can be so much better, but I’m sure that even blind we would feel that Montrachet is generally better –fuller bodied, more creamy, perfect finish…than the Batard or Chevalier-Montrachet…amazing.

 

the wine

’45 Ch. Mouton Rothchild.   This is one of the 100 point wines according to everyone.  It is easy to see why.  The only problem with the wine is that it is “perfect”…there is no way to know that this wine is 60 years old.

1976 Jos. Phelps Late Harvest Johannisberg Reisling–arguably the best dessert wine every made in the USA.  This wine, which we have had 30 times since 1978 is wonderful…it is now almost black in the bottle…dark dark brown-golden in the glass…hard, solid, sweet but not cloying…just a great dessert flavor like a TBA…a treat for the last time…an appropriate finish for a great evening.

 

 

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3 Responses to “Manresa – Los Gatos”


  1. 1 mattatouille June 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I’m stunned. I can’t believe you drank a 1945 Mouton-Rothschild! amazing!

  2. 2 lizziee June 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    It was a major birthday and my husband had bought it 25 years ago. That is one way to make sure you don’t get a divorce – have an incredible wine that must be shared.

  3. 3 mattatouille June 30, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Lizzie, I will remember that advice. Drink good wine on important birthdays. Christine and I have only one bottle in our “cellar”, a very good Gewurtztraminer that we can hold for maybe 10 years. We’re looking to add to that collection but Christine’s father generally pouh-pouhs wine drinking so we generally have to do it in secret. Once we get our own place, we expect to build a cellar.


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