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Manresa's Tomato Modernista Dinner [Los Gatos]

djquinnc Jun 4, 2013 01:28 PM

Saw a Facebook post announcing this event. Was wondering if any others on the board have experienced one these dinners and have some feedback. I am rather intruiged. I have had two meals at Manresa: one superb, and the other, significantly less so. Mulling in my head if this would be a worth a road trip from Los Angeles or not. Thanks in advance.

  1. bbulkow Jun 4, 2013 02:33 PM

    I went to one of their Citrus dinners a few years back, it might be worth it - caveats.

    The problem I have with Manresa is their unevenness. When they're good they're great - the best meal I had there was a Wednesday when they were only half full.

    Good news about the Modernista dinners is they "gear up" since it's a special dinner. More planning, more staff, more focus.

    Your experience will be toward the Superb end of the Manresa spectrum, but no promises.

    I remember to this day three of the dishes served that night, which is rare.

    7 Replies
    1. re: bbulkow
      djquinnc Jun 5, 2013 02:50 PM

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, and for validating the inconsistency concerns. My gut is saying "Yes." If I go, I will be sure to report back.

      1. re: bbulkow
        CarrieWas218 Jun 5, 2013 04:22 PM

        I'm a Manresa dissenter - I seem to remember all the mis-steps and problems more than the joys (which were few and far-between). Like BBulkow, I find it uneven inconsistent.

        1. re: CarrieWas218
          bbulkow Jun 5, 2013 05:17 PM

          One dinner I took my sister and there was a 45 minute gap before the last savory course. When it arrived that meat was shriveled and more at home at Harry's Hoffbrau than a fine dining establishment. The kind of lapse that should never, ever occur at a place of that magnitude.

          And yet.... one meal (that wednesday one) was flawless top to bottom, perfect in every way, better than the one TFL meal I've had.

          It's a frustrating place, and yet also so seminal - you see Kinche's influence at Saison, at Ubuntu when it existed, at AQ. The interest in eggs, "into the garden".

          I will admit I haven't been in a few years. Other eating to do. Did drop by for a cocktail after the remodel, not worth it. Not sure when my next trip will be, either, and I live a 25 minute drive away - not LA.

          1. re: bbulkow
            Robert Lauriston Jun 5, 2013 06:19 PM

            The inspiration for Kinch's "into the garden" came from Michel Bras:


            1. re: bbulkow
              JonDough Jun 6, 2013 09:00 AM

              I ate there last week and I found it inconsistent as well. There were a couple of highs and some dishes that were forgettable. Two of the dishes were the most artistic that I have seen in a long time - they also were the best dishes of the night. The desserts were also better than the desserts that I had at Benu and Saison (I found both pretty weak).

              One thing that really bugged me was the service. Every time they took the plates away it was like this dance and completely interrupted our conversation and we would have to wait for them to finish before we could continue to talk.

              For me, it isn't worth the drive. I would return to Benu, Saison, Commis and AQ before I would go back to Manresa.

              1. re: JonDough
                stravaigint Jun 6, 2013 09:55 AM

                "like this dance" is pretty accurate, and it's an incredibly awkward dance of way too many servers, none of whom are particularly fluid. We wanted to hide under the table whenever they headed in our direction.

                1. re: JonDough
                  djquinnc Jun 6, 2013 04:20 PM

                  I just called Manresa to ask about pricing. $195 pp, with no allergies or dietary restrictions accomodated. Another wonderful meal at Commis, at a fraction of the price, is starting to sound like a much better excuse for a road trip up north.

          2. w
            w0x0f Jun 10, 2013 11:36 AM

            I've been to a couple of Tomato Modernistas and Citrus Modernistas, and they've generally been excellent. Were it not for Portland Feast being the same weekend, I'd probably look at going, even though I no longer live in the SFBA.

            I can't recall any plates as bad as bbulkow's; did you send it back, or otherwise complain, and did staff address the problem?

            Manresa has gotten more expensive, but I've been told that they will still do the "old" menu 3 or 4 course dinner if one asks.

            I'd make the trip from LA, but I'd be torn on road trip or flying to SJC.

            While you're in the BA, you should try Commis, which is run by the chef who used to run the Pig Dinners at Manresa. Those were memorable meals.

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