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Manresa at Intersect by Lexus

We have to say, we were skeptical about a car company opening up a restaurant space a few years back. But then we checked out the space, and Intersect by Lexus certainly makes one of the most architecturally beautiful restaurants in NYC. The food concept — rotating chefs from top restaurants around the world — also means you’re never bored. For the next few months, Manresa in the house, perfect for those in a Michelin-star frame of mind.

Overview

The Intersect-by-Lexus concept is to host top chefs from around the world, for four month residencies. They started out with famed restaurant, Frenchie at opening, which brought Paris to NYC.  After a hiatus during the pandemic, they’re now back in full force, with outdoor dining and a new lounge concept.  The lounge is its whole own feature, which we’ll highlight when we’re all back from summer travels this September.

For now, Manresa is in the house until the end of the summer.  Manresa is a 3 star Michelin restaurant out of the San Francisco Bay area.  Its chef, David Kinch, is known for the most pure farm-to-table ingredients and classic dishes, that are elevated to a next-level Michelin experience.  Here’s our candid review.

The Food

Bites to Share

The menu is well-balanced for vegetarians, pescatarians and those who eat anything and everything.  No matter which route you choose, we have to start with the bread.  Manresa Bakery in California has their top-secret recipe for what is best described as a sourdough with seed combination loaf.  It’s chewy in the middle and has that sought after crisp crust.  Chef Kinch is so particular about the bread that he has it shipped in three times a week to New York from the California home base.

You get a chance to try a few toasted up pieces of the famous bread when you order one of the bocales, which are terrines for dipping.  The salmon rilettes is a combination of smoked and crudo preparations.  It will be one of the best renditions of the traditional dish you’ll have.  There’s also a beyond rich duck foie gras with cocoa nibs and Armagnac, which is almost a dessert.  Vegetarians aren’t left out though; Manresa offers an eggplant terrine with toasted cumin and brown butter.

The Manresa Starters

The starters are highlights of the menu.  If you’re into elevated comfort food, this is your section.  There’s a classic Nicoise salad, where the dressing is illusively perfect and the tuna cooked just right.  The Herb Panisse and Pomme Paillasson are two types of mashed concoctions that are lightly fried into thick rectangular logs.  They are delicious, and even better dipped in a Meyer lemon and Spanish anchovy sauce.  The Pomme Paillasson is fried in duck fat so the dish isn’t vegetarian, but you can opt for a non-meat version with the Herb Panisse only.  The only catch is you won’t get that Spanish anchovy sauce, which is a highlight of the dish.  Either way, it’s a nice starter to share for the table along with one of the bocales.

A Manresa staff favorite on the menu is the sweet onion and brioche soup.  The brioche is pureed into the onion soup base.  They pour this liquid deliciousness table side, on top of a perfectly poached egg and a slice of manchego.  It’s rich, and can easily be a meal itself with a combo of the other starters.  We thought this was one of the more interesting versions as well as well-executed of the classic French onion soup.  It’s a high recommendation if you’re into soup.

The Main Course

The Manresa main courses are almost like a different concept.  Whereas the bocales and starters theme in presentation to a farm to table restaurant, the entrees are more Michelin in presentation.  As much as what you’ll eat will be delicious, it’s also presented like art.  The menu is refreshingly option heavy for pescetarians, with a salmon, grilled sea bass and black cod option.  They do have something for everyone, with a vegetarian trenette pasta that’s rich with an avocado and Genovese pesto.

We didn’t make it to dessert, because we over-indulged.  We hoped to be able to even make it to the lounge for their signature cocktails and dessert downstairs, but couldn’t fit anything else in.  You’ll have to let us know if you make it to the very end.

Overall:  8/10

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