Thursday, March 17, 2011

Manresa - a hidden gem

Nestled in the "forests" of Los Gatos is a hidden gem. One can drive by without even a glance at this unpretentious and very approachable establishment. But of course, being the diligent food voyeur that I am, not only did I glance, I studied. After gawking at the menu for months, I've developed a systematic method of restaurants to go through before I move back to LA. And Manresa was next in line to FL. I recently had a chance meeting with a pastry chef and the question came up, "Does the bay area trump LA in terms of dining?"
She replied without hesitation, "Yes, SF does have more of a curve when it comes to dining" and she proceeded to list all her favorites with shining eyes. I'm starting to believe her.

Some of my favorites:

Naked beauty - a single oyster poached in its own succulent essence with yuzu jelly. 
Sexy beyond words.

                          A velvety Dungeness crab salad with mandarin oranges, chicken broth jelly and a hint of cumin. (I've somehow managed to make this beautiful dish look like an orange blob. Much apologies =/ )

                                Crispy mussel with Japanese cucumbers and sprinkling of fresh dill.

 Monterey Bay abalone

Confit of trout and a dollop of some amazing cream

 Confit of duck with a Japanese plum sauce

 Wagyu sirloin with a dashi broth..

 lift her skirts ..
and a perfectly poached egg.

What added more appeal to this meal was that each dish came as a total surprise. There is no menu, not even a list of ingredients to go by. You entrust your senses to Chef David Kinch to toy and fondle with. And fondle he does. The point of no return for me was the Wagyu Sirloin with Poached Egg - so tender, flavorful, the perfect piece of meat. Be prepared for a 14 course food porn bonanza that will leave you hot and sweaty.

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