Dinner @ Manresa, with wine TNs
Last Saturday night, my wife and I joined her brother and his wife for dinner at Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos.
We had the tasting menu -- must have been about 12 courses -- and I cannot adequately describe the truly fantastic meal we had there. Suffice it to say the food was amazing -- indeed, this was one of hte best meals I've had since Paris last June -- and we are definitely looking forward to returning sooner rather than later.
The meal itself was stunning -- from the very first amuse bouche (a black olive madeline accompannied by a fruit gelée but made from red bell pepper) to the last of the desserts (a chocolate madeline with a strawberry fruit gelée). Each and every dish was amazing . . .
A cube the size of a Vegas die, made of romaine and cheese, accented with hebs, lightly breaded and then flash-fried so the inside was pure liquid that explodes when you pop it in your mouth and causes you to swoon with delight.
A "soft egg" -- a soft boiled egg that was turned into a mousse and served in the shell with a bit of heavy cream, sherry vinegar, and a dollop of maple syrup -- an improbable sounding dish that was heavenly.
To accompany these, we had a bottle of
1996 Drappier Brut Carte d'Or (Champagne, France): This cuvée is approximately 90 percent Pinot Noir, the balance being devided between Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier (but I'm not surehow much of each). Golden-straw in color, with a lively mousse and fine bead; the bouquet is quite rich and complex, with lots of yeasty brioche notes, hazelnuts, lemon curd, honeysuckle and dried fruits; on the palate, this is a big, mouth-filling wine loaded with flavor and depth; very complex, well-balanced, with a rich, lingering finish. Fantastic
Then, we moved on to foie gras and Sauternes . . .
And then to more dishes, and to accompany them, a bottle of
2004 Domaine de Bellivière Jasnières “Les Rosier” (Loire, France): I just had this wine about ten days ago, at the Louis/Dressner tasting. The bouquet is very floral and aromatic -- like a Chenin but with some Viognier or Alvarinho blended in (though it is pure Chenin Blanc); on the palate, the wine is very elegant and stylish, eith a blend of ripe quince, melon, kumquat, apricot, peach and more; nicely balanced, and a long, lush, dry finish. Just wonderful.
An oyster on the half-shell with a bit of uni was gone all too quickly, but the intensity and purity of flavor lingered.
A sea bream and fresh sweet English baby pea in a bit of light broth that charmed the palate.
A Copper River salmon, smoked and cooked to perfection, served with its own roe that brought all conversation to a sudden halt, as we savored it in absolute silence . . .
On to our red wine, a bottle of
2000 Niepoort Redoma Vinho Tinto (Douro, Portugal): Deep and dark garnet red in color, clear and clean; the bouquet is a seamless blend of ripe plums, black fruits, spice and some earth, accented with espresso and chocolate notes; on the palate, the wine is at once rich without being full, mouth-filling without overpowering; it is well-balanced, with good structure and fine tannins; the generous flavors in t he mouth echo the wine's bouquet and the finish is exceptionally long and flavorful. Superb!
Abalone in a brown butter, so tender, so sweet, so perfect, so --
A leg and breast of squab that was tender and rich, perfectly done and oh-so-good . . .
A dish of sliced lamb, with a coconut-cream sauce and Indian spices that practically melted in your mouth . . .
Then, onto desserts . . .
Individual white chocolate ice cream coanes that did mwelt in your mouth . . .
A scoop of chocolate mousse, served with a scoop of olive oil ice cream, a hint of sea salt, and "chocolate paper" that made you think you had died and gone to heaven . . .
And the aforementioned chocolate madelines
Sigh . . .
I was there with my husband on May 5th. We also had the tasting menu. The amuse-bouche we started out with were some of the most impressive I have ever had. Nevertheless, we started the main dishes with Fois Gras. The first of over 7 course was fois gras. Now, if you're i the kitchen, know anything about nutrition, or ever paid attention to your stomach, you know very well that fat dampens you appetite, and makes you eat less. On top of the fact that it just sets a tone for the remaining courses. we had three fish courses served after that, all of which felt mediocre, and we were literally falling asleep at the table before we even got to desserts. About an hour after the fois gras, we finally started to recover, but speaking of faux pas!! Not a smart idea to serve that dish first among main courses. I was expecting a bit more from a two-star restaurant, to be honest. In the end, we did not enjoy our main courses, and I am sure they could have been quite terrific if served in a different order.
This was our second time at Manresa, the first one being way before Micheline even started to think about San Francisco. That first meal was definetly better.