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“Best pork ever!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cafe Manson - CLOSED

Cafe Manson
Cuisines: French, American, International, Contemporary, Diner
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Description: (509) 888-4197 An (as yet) unheralded gem in a tiny town on Lake Chelan. Owner/chefs are clearly dedicated and trained at a top restaurant in Seattle; food is great, always prepared with fresh ingredients, and very imaginative and tastefully done. Service is friendly and unobtrusive. As food enthusiasts from Seattle, we were delighted to find this great place in Manson.
Edmonds, Washington
Level Contributor
246 reviews
179 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Best pork ever!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 May 2013

This is a fun local place and if you can sit at the high table, makes it nice to get to know some strangers while you are in town. We had a winemakers dinner here and it was great how everyone just walked around and chatted with each other and we felt we made new friends while having a fantastic meal.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank teddipet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

15 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    11
    2
    2
    0
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Shoreline, Washington
Level Contributor
36 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Very good and focused restaurant”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 April 2013 via mobile

We've been to Cafe Manson a few times and have never been disappointed. I fact, I'd rank it among high end/gourmet restaurants in some of the best travel destination anywhere. Keep in mind this is in Manson which is nearly empty 3/4 of the year with the exception of an occasional weekend...so you can only imagine the challenges of maintaining quality and competent staff. That said, the few items on the menu are always extremely well done.

Last night we enjoyed a spectacular winemaker dinner. The smoked pork chops were the best I've ever experienced - tender, juicy and deeply penetrated with a wonderful smoke flavor. The salmon and fried lemon appetizers were also a great treat, so much so that I had to hold back to keep from filling up on them. Finally the bread pudding with caramel sauce was one of the best I've ever had, made very uniquely with a touch of Asian spices.

Given the location and time of year, the staff is perhaps not the most experienced, but they are attentive and eager to assure you have a good experience, so I cut them some slack on that. In short, if you want to have a great dining experience in Manson, you definitely need to give Cafe Manson a try.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank rbeachkid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Naperville, Illinois
Level Contributor
156 reviews
88 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Extremely capable, but possibly just a bit too creative”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 2013

The setting is casual/comfortable/foodie chic - Manson is hardly the place for white linen service. The menu options are "focused", which is to say there are typically only 3 or 4 choices for each course. Most items are gluten free but vegetarians are going to have a tougher time as there was no vegetarian entree the night we visited.

Service was efficient and friendly and the kitchen seemed well able to keep up with the flow of orders - we were the last table seated for the night.

The wine list was very reasonably priced, unfortunately so for some of the local wines as far superior foreign alternatives were presented for significantly lower prices than wine made right in the region. Chelan is a very new AVA, and although almost all local wines are quite expensive, the quality seems very hit and miss.

Shrimp Bisque was commendably light and flavorful, and the mushroom plate provided an interesting range of flavors and textures. From the kitchen-garden, pickled green tomatoes provided an excellent cornichon alternative, and a nice spice kick.

I wasn't quite sure if the Iceberg Wedge was offered in an ironic salute to steak houses of the '70s, but it provided a nice salad break between courses.

Duck Confit was competently prepared, but arguably not duck confit at all - and here's where we get to the completely subjective notion of "too creative".

Making Duck Confit is a centuries old process that's extremely well established - the portion of duck is dry cured with salt, garlic and herbs for 24-48 hours. Next, and this is arguably what defines the dish, it is poached in rendered duck fat at a fairly low temperature. This low, slow, poaching not only infuses the entire serving with rich duck flavor, but also leaves it incredibly tender. The duck portions can now be canned or preserved in the cooled fat for quite a long period of time - potentially a year or more if kept cool. To serve, the duck is typically roasted which causes the fat to melt away and leave a crispy finished to the meat - almost like duck baby back ribs!

At Cafe Manson Duck "confit" appeared to be a Chinese 5-spice inspired rub that was then baked/roasted. It was well enough done, but to me it wasn't "confit" at all - it didn't fall apart in the way that confit does, and it definitely lacked the rich almost nutty flavor I associate with confit. If described as spiced, roast duck I wouldn't have had any quarrel with the dish, but unfortunately my heart was set on confit, and expectations in place accordingly. It came with what seemed to be pure mashed pumpkin, but which the menu suggested contained potato too, and chopped kale in a balsamic vinaigrette/reduction. A touch of vinegar is a good add to kale, but here it was just a little more than was called for - again a very subjective opinion.

Shared dessert was a very nice bread pudding, made all the better by the accompaniment of two tastes of complimentary port - a very welcome touch.

So, a thoroughly splendid evening in an extremely promising restaurant. The only negative being that my tastes and those of the kitchen didn't completely align when it came to the entree.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Kevin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oliver, British Columbia, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Best Stew Ever!!!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 February 2013

Found the restaurant by accident searching for a place for dinner. Upon entering we were surprised how busy it was for a Sunday evening. The service was excellent as our waitress was pleasant and professional as she explained the menu. I choose the Beef Stew and my wife had the sole. The chef had prepared risotto as an appetizer which was good. The stew was the best I have ever had, spicy and tasty. The meat was cooked to perfection melting in my mouth with each bite. My wife's sole was every bit as good also. We will return next time we are back in the area on a weekend retreat from Canada.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Wayne J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington USA
Level Contributor
19 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“If in Chelan area, do Cafe Manson”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 November 2012

The Cafe Manson in Manson, WA near Lake Chelan is a must. This tiny little hole in the wall is totally surprising. A husband and wife with great chef credentials own and operate this outstanding restaurant. They take special pride in making sure that their diners fell comfortable and at ease. They took time with us, gave us in depth explanations of what, how and why they were preparing our meals in their special way. Our party of six concluded in complete agreement that the food was excellent and there were several different orders from the menu. All their incredients are local and much of it grown by the owners. They also gave us excellent recommendations regarding a couple of small wineries which seem to be the new industry in the Chealn area. It would be smart to get a reservation anytime but especially in season.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank SteveKink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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