Local, alternative perspective. Insightful stories for the Santa Clara Valley.

RESTAURANTEUR’s “BON ANNIVERSAIRE”: TWO-ALARM FIRE DEVASTATES MANRESA, DAVID KINCH’S LOS GATOS TWO-STAR MICHELIN RESTAURANT (BEHIND THE BARRICADES)

A WEEK AFTER A TWO-ALARM FIRE DEVASTATED DAVID KINCH’S MICHELIN TWO-STAR RESTAURANT IN LOS GATOS, THE BUILDING REMAINS COMPLETELY BARRICADED BEHIND A CYCLONE FENCE AND THE RESTAURANT CLOSED FOR SERVICE TO ITS PATRONS.

Manresa was closed for a summer and Fourth of July holiday when the fire consumed the restaurant last week, as of Monday 7 July 2014.

This Monday, 14 July 2014, clean-up of the interior appeared to be happening inside the restaurant, as the windows were boarded-up with sheet wood.  The restaurant is situated on a back street at 320 Village Lane, but the site of it made the street all the more somber, as this was also a quiet Monday afternoon on an unusually muggy and overcast day with warm winds blowing through the town of Los Gatos.

At the restaurant’s website, management has posted the following statement:

On the morning of July 7 there was a fire at Manresa restaurant. We are currently closed and not taking reservations until further notice. We are directly contacting those people with upcoming reservations. Thank you to the local community and our culinary colleagues around the globe for the outpouring of support. We will be back!

 

Luckily, Manresa is located just around the corner from the Los Gatos/County Fire Department on University Avenue.  The fire department is merely 0.1 miles and 1 minute away.

Unfortunately, the fire consumed the restaurant just after they announced,

Wine Enthusiast magazine has announced its list of the “Best 100 Wine Restaurants in America” and we are honored to be included. Editors searched high and low across the United States to compile this year’s list and California comes out on top with having some of the most restaurants represented. Look out for the issue on newsstands the week of July 10.

Despite that, it doesn’t look as though patrons will be able to visit, perhaps having to choose from the other “100 Best.”

Currently, word is that Manresa’s existing reservations have been cancelled, while no future reservations are to be taken.   (Look back to their website for updates and a change from that statement said above).

In brief interviews or press releases, Kinch seems to be optimistic and saying that the restaurant will reopen soon, better than ever; yet, looking at the extensive damages and devastation — especially to the backside of the building where the kitchen is located — there’s speculation as to the cost of damages.  Manresa is not yet confirming a reopening date.

Kinch is an established Chef, but the concern is about losing the pulse of what’s already a trying economy and foodservice industry.  Add to that, the expectations that come with his accolades.

Kinch’s own first restaurant was the bistro-style Sent Sovi in neighboring Saratoga.  There, he was a partner with Aimee Hébert in 1995.  That restaurant is since owned and operated by Josiah Slone; whereas, down the street, are other restaurants with accolades, like the Plumed Horse, an old Saratoga name that morphed into a Michelin Star establishment when owner Klaus Pache abandoned it and Peter Armellino took over, thus giving it the updated look and acumen.

This was a new age: out with the days when Joseph Izzo was the main area critic; now, in with Zagat Survey, and the Michelin and Slow Food Guides.  (See the slide show gallery attached, including Izzo’s books from 1980 & 1987; plus, these others, Zagat & Michelin from 2007, Slow Food 2005).

Kinch decided to leave Saratoga and open Manresa in Los Gatos, taking a building that formerly  housed a restaurant known as “The Village House,” then turning it inside-out.  Kinch founded Manresa in Los Gatos in 2002; that’s twelve years ago today, Bastille Day, 14 June 2002.   This is the day of his anniversary, a week after his restaurant catches fire.

Bastille Day is an annual celebration for Alice Waters of Chez Panisse; which also recently had a fire at the restaurant, last year, back in June 2013; thereby, giving the establishment a like hiatus.. or disruption.  Chez Panisse usually serves a garlic infused menu for the celebration, which reminds local Bay Area folks, especially in Santa Clara County…

  • The harvest is ready and the Gilroy Garlic Festival is just about underway, showing that life goes on.  Celebrate July 25-27th.

Oddly enough, in Kinch’s Manresa cookbook (co-written by Bon Appetite’s Christine Muhlke) — Manresa: An Edible Reflection — there’s a recipe shared here from the appropriately titled Lifestyle Mirror: Green Garlic Panisse Recipe.

As Wikipedia points out: 

Immature garlic is sometimes pulled, rather like a scallion, and sold as “green garlic”.  When green garlic is allowed to grow past the “scallion” stage, but not permitted to fully mature, it may produce a garlic “round”, a bulb like a boiling onion, but not separated into cloves like a mature bulb.

At that, Kinch leaves you to your own devices… bon appetite! Salut!

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