Monday, January 18, 2010

Manresa

Manresa

I've wanted to try this restaurant for a while, just never really got a chance to. Earlier in the week we found out that one of our friend is moving back to the East Coast and asked whether we would join her and another friend for dinner there. Of course I said yes. This is definitely more of a special occasion dinner level, $95 for the four course dinner and $160 for the tasting. I think this is enough of a special occasion.

We had the earliest reservation possible, at 5pm on Sunday. The host greeted us warmly and seated us just as our friends shows up. We decided on the 4 courses option. While it would be wonderful to do the tasting menu, none of us were in the mood of actually going through 7-8 courses with additional amuses as well. That ended up to the great choice since we still didn't finish our dinner until after 8pm. I would post all the pictures, but I only took pictures with my iphone (didn't want to distract people with my Nikon). If interested, please visit my flickr page to see them.

So what are my thoughts? Did it live up to my expectations? I have to say the two amuses they brought out was amazing. I guess that set the bar pretty high for the rest of the dinner. Some dishes were great, so if chosen correctly, you could have a spectacular meal. The four of us all ordered different things so we could try more dishes. There are definite hits and misses. My fish course seemed like someone forgot to season it. The black cod was cooked perfectly, nice crunchy crust with a moist flesh. Unfortunately, it had absolutely no taste. My pork dish was really good. Actually, I think all of us had a really good meat course. We added a cheese course to share as a table. Three of the four were good, the cheese cart was definitely not as impressive as the one at Gary Danko. Then again, I'm not sure any other restaurant could live up to that. My dessert consisted of exotic citrus (don't ask me what they are though) sorbet, ice cream and granita. In my opinion the best dessert at the table and great to finish after the rich pork dish that I had. So technically speaking, all the food was cooked perfectly. The flavors just didn't always come through. The one big problem we had was the pacing of the courses. As we were discussing at the table, if we noticed it, then there's a problem. We had long breaks between a few of the courses and the restaurant was not at full capacity. The staff were nice and professional, just not sure what the delay was for. For around the same price range, I would prefer Gary Danko more. (Much shorter of a drive for us as well!)

In the end, we did enjoy a great evening with friends. Too bad it took a friend to be about to move in order for us to get out there. Oh, the parting gift they had was you could take a handful of their salted caramels home. That, was quite good.

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