Manresa Review

My SF trip concluded with a meal in Los Gatos. I’ll be perfectly honest that I made a reservation at Manresa before I even planned my SF trip.

Long story short, I was hungry while watching The Mind of a Chef and David Kinch, owner and EC of Manresa, was the host for a few episodes. As I was watching him articulately explaining his ideas and philosophies behind each creation, I was so blown away that I thought to myself…I HAVE try his restaurant and proceeded to make a reservation! To this day, I blame it on watching the show’s food porn while hungry.

Well…anyway…the rest is history…

*** Macarons

Amuse Bouche: “petit fours” of red bell pepper and black olive
just to throw you off

granola and goat cheese crisps
These crisps got 12 different kinds of nuts and seeds

Mocktail Pairing #1: pineapple, cucumber, ginger, and lime

Fanny Bay oyster with vegetable scales
Forgot what the mignonette was but this one was great. It wasn’t too sharp tasting like the typical mignonette which I don’t care for.

Osetra caviar, yuzu blini, lardo and crisp

I tasted…salt…couldn’t taste anything else

Mocktail Pairing #2: blood orange, fennel

wheat bread, brioche, sourdough
Good bread

Manresa’s homemade butter

blood orange panna cotta, dungeness crab, fennel, picked shallot, grapefruit
This course was mindblowingly good. The interplay and balance between the crab’s sweetness and the contrasting shades of different tart flavors of the pickled shallot, grapefruilt, and blood orange panna cotta was extraordinary. Finally, the fennel cleansed my palate between bites

"Into the vegetable garden" | handpicked showcase of the day’s herbs from Love Apple Farm
There were 30+ different herbs in there. It might not look like it but it was great.

Grilled romaine lettuce, pickled beets, bittered green sauce, roasted garlic, and burre blanc hiding under the variety of herbs

Hokkaido uni on top of a mussel broth custard, koji oil
The interplay between the custard and uni give out an intensely briny flavor in a good way…it’s like the taste of ocean in the best imaginable way. The dish was almost too salty toward the end when you don’t have enough uni to balance out the mussel custard though. You might start to see a trend here…

Mocktail Pairing #3: grapefruit, charmomile honey, caraway

grilled Monterey abalone, vermouth froth, smoked potato mousseline

Mocktail Pairing #4: pineapple, red bell pepper, meyer lemon

Layers of flavor in that broth! It’s basically liquid gold!

stripped bass, scallop tamago, bay scallops, squid agnolotti, Manresa’s version of bouillabaisse with dried scallops
The broth was amazingly complex but saltiness was over the top. When eaten with the flaky stripped bass, it was a salt bomb which ruined the dish…what a shame…everything was cooked to perfection on the plate. Also, is it blasphemy to say that I like this tamago better than the ones I get at sushi-yas?

Mocktail Pairing #5: apple, honey vinegar and cinnamon

duck confit and cider glazed duck duo, grilled endive,thinly sliced apple, lettuce chip with shaved foie gras, aged balsamic

Mocktail Pairing #6: winged lime, lime shrub, tonic

Forgot what that sauce was but it was velvety and delicious!

"roe deer tourte" | venison, foie gras mousse, buckwheat pastry, unripen strawberry

Mocktail Pairing #7: poorman orange and ancho chili

grapefruit sorbet, coconut cream, cocoa butter, cashew sprinkles, chili

layered chocolate mousse cake

Gittin’ dat caramel goodness

buckwheat ice cream, poached apple, bread pudding, apple puree and caramel

petit fours of chocolate mandeline and strawberry jelly

coffee, lemon, and orange macaron

hazelnut bonbon and rum truffle
The hazelnut bonbon tasted like a better version of ferrero rocher which I love!

Parting goodies…toasted granola with almonds and cocoa nibs

It was a strong meal overall with plenty of creativity and Japanese influence, but it didn’t reach the lofty height of Benu from 2 nights ago. Execution could’ve been better since the kitchen was heavy handed with the salt.

Mocktail pairing was spot on even though it was trending a little too sweet toward the end of the meal.

320 Village Ln
Los Gatos, CA 95030


You squeaked in just before the fire.

Wow. Again?!

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Gorgeous photos and a great review! Thanks for the report! What kind of camera do you use?

I haven’t been to Manresa yet, I have friends who really enjoy and also dislike them. Though if I had a choice I would likely return to Benu first.

I quite like Manresa despite the flawed execution on this visit. As for my camera, I use a Panasonic G3 from 2011 with a 20mm pancake lens.

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