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manresa report... (long) "the egg" was overcooked

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had an occassion to celebrate and decided to have dinner at manresa saturday night. Have only been once previously, about two years ago. had the tasting menu, and well, it was one of the best meals I've ever eaten. so my expectations were high, though this time we were only having three courses.

1st amuse bouche - strawberry gazpacho, with a little olive oil and marcona almond. predominant spice was tarragon (I think). very refreshing. but I am a pushover for that savory/strawberry combo.

2nd amuse bouche - "the egg"... well, I had "the egg" as part of my tasting menu last trip. and thought it was fantastic... and I hate runny egg yolk. but this time, I must say.. it was overcooked! the yolk instead of being just sort of creamy and warmed through, was overly firm. it was still runny, but had started congealing around the sides. when I inquired about the dish, I was told that is the way "the chef prepares it". so I was a little put off.. by the response and the texture... frankly, the texture ruined what is normally a lovely amuse.

for my first course, I started with heirloom tomatoe salad (as did my DH) with white corn puree with basil leaves. it was as expected.. good tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chilled.. sitting in a pool or corn puree. it wasn't earth shattering, but the tomaotes were excellent as was the puree... a light and fresh start.

for my 2nd course I had another appetizer, made in to a large entree. it was dungeness crab with a yogurt sauce and "exotic" indian spices... with a cool cucumber and citrus slices as a base. well, the "exotic" spices was a curry. a very lovely curry, but a curry all the same. what was added to the dish to make it a bit heavier was a lightly battered soft shell crab, which was just delicious. the curry was very creamy and frothy. I enjoyed the dish very much. My DH, had a basil rissotto with snails and a couple chicken wings thrown on top. it was a little strange, but the risotto was tasty, bright green and alive with a fresh basil taste. the snails, were chewy and tasted a lot like garlic and basil... (i have never seen the point of snails). and the wings were tender and good. just a little incongruous with the rest of the dish. oh yes, and there was a fennel foam on top. went well with the chicken, not as much with the rissotto.

DH had a main course instead of dessert.. suckling pig with boudin noir & leeks. the suckling pig was incredibly tender. boudin noir is not my favorite, so I can't comment on whether this was a particularly good one.

for dessert, we split the "buttermilk beignets with stone fruite preserves and tyme ice cream". well, the beignets were very good, if you thought of them more like plain cake doughnuts rather than beignets. and the stone fruit preserves... well, it tasted like apricot & peach jam to me. but very good, jam at that. I remember fondly some earl grey tea ice cream from last time here, so I had high hopes for the tyme. but it was a little disappointing. the tyme came across more like an aroma at the back of the palate. it was very subtle. if you had a hint of a cold, you might mistake it for just really good vanilla ice cream. but all together the effect was nice.

not sure if my expectations were too high from previous meal, but it was still a lovely evenign out with my DH. the ambient noise was louder than I remember... but not intolerable. still a nice experience, but I am now wondering if perhaps they've been reading a bit too much of their own press? *sigh* but perhaps the food really shines in the tasting menu? too bad I don't have an excuse to try that again.

m

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  1. good report. i'm tempted to pay a visit. if you don't mind me asking, what did your bill come out to?

    your friend's risotto just sounds weird. "a couple of chicken wings thrown on top"? and snails? i can't imagine how these all go together. wings are such finger foods, and risotto and foam are so not. did you have to use a fork/knife?

    1 Reply
    1. re: lawrence

      our total bill was something like $220 or so, we each ordered the three courses.. but only two glasses of wine.

      and yes, the risotto was weird. my DH had issues deciding whether the wings were meant to be picked up or eaten with a knife and fork. he opted for the silverware, but it was a bit awkward. all the elements were individually tasty, but not really cohesive. which has ordinarily not been my experience.. most dishes at manresa that see incongruous, really aren't. this one just didn't quite make it.

    2. I had to go back a ways to find a description of "the egg" -- from 1473 days ago:

      "A soft boiled small egg, in its shell, the top properly cut off, sitting in a cute little egg cup with an appropriately sized spoon to eat it with. The egg has maple syrup and {sherry} vinegar inside it. On the top is a bit of softly whipped cream. You are instructed to spoon all the way to the bottom of the shell for each bite, in order to catch all the layers of flavor."

      I love soft boiled eggs with just salt and pepper, but something like the above would be fun to try. But I absolutely agree that the yolk should not be firm around the edges. (By the way, various past posts on Manresa have complained about "the egg" being overcooked, so perhaps it is hit or miss.)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jefferson

        I have never eaten to Manresa, but "the egg" you described with maple syrup, sherry vinegar, etc, is almost exactly the one I had years ago at Arpege in Paris.

      2. Thanks for your report. A few comments:

        1. My egg was also slightly overcooked when we went over a year ago. Doesn't sound to the same extent as yours, but I didn't think it was as creamy as it should have been. The flavors still came together beautifully though...

        2. Your husband's risotto does sound discombobulated (sp?). Sorta sounds like risotto meets paella, but I really don't enjoy meat w/ my risotto.

        3. Snails are merely a vehicle for gobs of butter-garlic-herb sauce.

        4. I can always find an excuse for a tasting menu. It's just the $ that's more of the challenge.

        5. I went to their website recently and noticed how the prices have really creeped up since we ate there last year. 3 courses $70; 4 courses $84; tasting menu $115. Perhaps not as good of a value as it once was...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Carb Lover

          I went this March and the tasting menu was $110.

        2. I went to Manresa about 3 weeks ago and the tasting menu was $115.

          1 Reply
          1. re: qdarlinq

            How was your meal?

          2. Thanks for your report.. I will go to manresa this thursday :)How's their wine pairing program? Should I bring my own bottle?
            any thought ?
            thanks!!!!

            3 Replies
            1. re: capriana94555

              I just had a glass of champagne with my dinner.. but when I did the wine pairings last time with the tasting menu, it was pretty good. a wide variety, from all over the globe... even included sake with one course and some port. my friend an I were glad we'd arranged for a sober driver to pick us up.

              1. re: withalonge

                thanks for the info!!!
                it's good to know that : >

              2. re: capriana94555

                I was there about three weeks ago and we did the wine pairing - mostly Spanish wines. Our bill was about $300 and well worth it. Fabulous food...outstanding service.

              3. Capriana94555 and I were there last night. With two tasting menu and wine pairing, our bill was $404.

                2 Replies
                1. re: vwoo

                  Can you elaborate on your meal and overall experience? Thanks!

                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    My dish-by-dish review with pictures is posted at: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                2. Hi Melanie,

                  Unfortunately, I was not wowed with my meal. The actual food was not memorable. There was no outstanding dish. I do recall the famous egg, an abalone soup, a one-bite round bon bon with liquid filling, the olive/chocolate madeleine and gumdrop in the beginning and the end of the meal, but after that, my memory is hazy. I was told by the server that the number of courses for the tasting menu can vary anywhere from 14 to 18. I believe I was served around 14 courses. For point of reference, my favorite meal thus far is still the tasting menu at Michael Mina.

                  What did impress me about Manresa though was their degree of professionalism. The table seated next to ours was having an anniversary celebration. During the dessert course, the gentleman had knocked over his wine glass; the wine in turn spilled into the lady's dessert course. Upon noticing this minor catastrophe, the servers immediately came over to clean up the mishap and replace the gentleman's wine and the lady's dessert w/ minimal disruption for the rest of the patrons. Because of the incident, in my mind, Manresa is a classy establishment w/ a very high degree of professionalism.

                  Darlin

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: qdarlinq

                    Thanks for sharing, and sorry to hear that the food wasn't up to par. My recollection is that in the past some felt the service wasn't up to the level of the cooking, so it's good to hear that the staff have improved that part of the game.

                    With tasting menus in the wine country ahead, are you in some kind of degustation olympics? (g)

                    M