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320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, California 95030
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Manresa " ingredient-driven cuisine, based on the very best products"
London, England, United Kingdom
January 1, 2011
Best of IgoUgo
David Kinch's Los Gatos restaurant is one of the most highly regarded in the world by the foodie community. It serves ingredient-driven cuisine, based on the very best products one can hope to find.Manresa is in a bizarre situation. The small ...
David Kinch's Los Gatos restaurant is one of the most highly regarded in the world by the foodie community. It serves ingredient-driven cuisine, based on the very best products one can hope to find.
Manresa is in a bizarre situation. The small community of international food-bloggers adores the restaurant and counts it amongst the very finest in the world, whilst it goes nearly unnoticed by the mass media. Even the big guides do not give it the highest marks. How can this be, is this really one of the world’s best restaurants or one of many?
One of the reasons for its relative neglect in the media, might be Chef David Kinch. He is unlike the modern chef that travels the planet preaching his philosophy. No, he is focused on his food and not on creating a certain hype in the media. That might not be most effective marketing tool, but should help to raise the food’s quality on a daily basis.
Another reason for this bizarre situation might be what Kinch focuses on. The quality of the produce. Like Alain Passard, Rocco Ianone and a very select group of chefs around the world, he farms his own vegetables and therefore does not rely on suppliers. This does not only ensure the highest quality of whatever is grown in the gardens of the Love Apple Farm, but also gives the cuisine a clearly laid out path to follow: That of the seasons. Thus, many of Kinch’s signature dishes are based on vegetables and products that you might not usually associate with haute cuisine: Tomatoes, beets, onions etc. Whilst he serves things like caviar, truffle and other luxury ingredients, they usually "season" the vegetables or complement them. Apart from the fruits his farm, he uses mainly local produce in his cooking. This is certainly something that the general public will have trouble to fully grasp. Yet it can give the so-to-say "educated" diner emotions he or she only very rarely have.
If one looks at the food, it is unusual. Somehow, the sense of place that one gets from the products used is lost, as there are elements from Spain (Manresa is a Catalan village), Japan, France, Italy and other places. Kinch blends all these influences into a unique, and highly original style. Take an amuse of creme caramel of foie gras with cumin seeds. It blends products and flavours from all over Europe, to create something quite special. On the complete opposite one has an abalone with cucumber and dashi, which represents a perfect balance between acidity and the meaty character of the abalone. Cooked until very tender, it is texturally contrasted by the cucumber, which results in a dish of exquisite beauty. Looking at what is arguably most famous dish, "into the vegetable garden", one is instantly reminded of Michel Bras’ famous "garguillou". Just as Bras, Kinch uses a large array of vegetables, herbs, fruits, grains, nuts and other elements to create a complex, delicate and alluring dish. Every single vegetable is perfectly cooked and seasoned, turning it into a feast on a plate. If one goes further and looks at how he treats lamb, one can easily see why his food is praised by the blogging community: A simple dish of roast lamb with tomato-majoram jam is phenomenal. The meltingly tender lamb is as close to perfection as one can humanly get, whilst the jam lifts the whole dish up one more notch. It is not only a dish of great simplicity, but also of stunning perfection. Divine.
Kinch’s cooking is delicate and intellectually challenging. It sublty plays with flavours, structures and textures. His dishes strike a perfect balance between acidity saltiness and bitter elements. It is not comfort food, but much more soul food. Whilst his dishes all taste delicious, they can challenge the mind, which makes them so captivating.
If one is to mention one weakness of this phenomenal restaurant, one has to say that it is the service. The staff (or at least some members of the black brigade) seems to be not perfectly trained. The dishes cannot be accurately described, nor can wine advice be given. At times it can even be rude, which is not acceptable at such a level and seriously damages the otherwise sulbime experience a diner can have here. If Kinch can redress this, one can see no objection to seeing this restaurant as one of the world’s very finest. A true gem, with one major problem. Is this the reason for it not having the third star?
This article is published on qliweb.com Check the pictures on http://www.qliweb.com/food/Manresa