It’s said that all good things must come to an end.
So apparently, must all great things, too.
When Chef-Owner David Kinch announced that he would be closing his Michelin three-starred Manresa in Los Gatos at the end of this year, it was a seismic jolt felt ’round the culinary world.
But after a glittering 20-year run, including the last three rocked by the turmoil of a global pandemic, he felt the time had come.
Although he will continue with his more casual concepts of Manresa Bread, the Bywater, and Mentone, come 2023 the South Bay will no longer boast a Michelin three-starred establishment. The property is up for sale. While Kinch says he has a few projects in mind to consider next, it’s a good bet that it will be a long time — if ever — that a restaurant exists in these parts that will draw discerning diners from all over the world in numbers like this one has.
I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy several superlative meals at Manresa over the past two decades. While I’ve mostly dined outdoors since the pandemic hit in 2020, I couldn’t pass up the chance to dine indoors there one final time.
On first reflection, you might not think that beef bourguignon and chicken with egg noodles in a lavish cream sauce would be what you really want to dig into on a warm summer evening.
But these French classics, done so right at Zola in downtown Palo Alto, end up not necessarily feeling heavy and rich, but downright as comforting as a hug. And in this time of upheaval, who wouldn’t want to be enveloped in that kind of contentment?
Zola only offers its to-go food on Fridays and Saturdays. The week’s menu is usually posted on Wednesday (sometimes on Tuesday), so you can start reserving your picks then. The earlier the better, too, because some items sell out fast.
While most other restaurants provide the food warm with instructions to reheat a few seconds in the microwave when you get home, Zola actually goes the heat-and-eat route, meaning everything is refrigerated, and you need to heat it to enjoy it.
Although a 2019 opening was expected for Chef David Kinch’s newest restaurant, Mentone in Aptos, eager diners will have to wait a little longer.
Like most under-construction restaurants these days, permit approvals have taken longer than expected. So, Mentone will likely open in the first half of January 2020 instead.
That’s what Kinch confirmed last week, while hosting a pop-up at Manresa Bread in Campbell, where he debuted some of the lusty, soulful food he’ll be serving at Mentone, the first Italian restaurant by this Michelin three-starred chef.
“People think I’m purposely delaying the opening to build more suspense,” he says with a laugh. “But that’s not true. It’s out of my hands.”
Yes, after conquering the highest echelons of fine-dining with Manresa, artisan bread-baking with Manresa Bread (Los Gatos, Los Altos, and Campbell), and the spirit of the Big Easy with the Bywater in Los Gatos, Kinch is turning his attention to the cuisine of the Italian and French Riviera, from which Mentone gets its name. It’ll also be the first restaurant on the “other side of the hill” of Highway 17 for Kinch, who has called Santa Cruz home for decades.