Menton 7/30/11 Report
My wife and I went to Menton on Saturday night to celebrate the news of our impending parenthood, and came away extremely impressed. We had been eager to try it since it opened, and this seemed like the perfect occasion.
We were seated in a small niche off to the side of the dining room. Some might find that isolating, but we very much enjoyed the seating arrangement - we could both see each other and also the rest of the room. There was one table next to us, but they finished up right as we were seated and the next seating didn't come in until late in our meal. It felt very private and was quite comfortable. The dining room itself is fairly modern and muted, which we really liked.
We opted for the 4-course prix fixe, and the chef started us off with an amuse bouche - a sphere of cauliflower mousse with a pea inside, all sitting on a cracker. It tasted amazing - the richness of the cauliflower, the pop of the pea - we knew we were off to a good start.
The first course was a salad for my wife, and I had the sliced toro (tuna belly) with a jalapeno sauce, cilantro, and dried fig vinaigrette. Both were outstanding.
The second course had us trying salmon over a chorizo sauce with sultanas and ratatouille and lobster in a pea foam with Chef Lynch's famous ricotta gnudi. The lobster was the most tender lobster I've ever eaten, and the salmon and chorizo played amazing well together against the sweetness of the sultanas.
For course number three, we had the duck with fig en croute, and the ribeye steak with braised shin. I was actually expecting to like the duck more, but my steak was quite possibly the best-prepared piece of beef that I've had since my bite of Kobe beef at o ya.
Before dessert, we were offered cheese. Happily, they did have some pasteurized cheese (as raw milk is off limits for another few months) and some hard cheese. We sampled three different kinds, all of which were wonderful.
Finally, for dessert, I had the banana creme brulee and my wife had the chocolate. And the mini macaroons after dessert were little works of art.
Throughout the entire evening, the service was impeccable. Our server, when asked to identify a particular vegetable, knew it off the top of his head and told us about the preparation method. He also did an excellent job of wine recommendation.
All in all, it was an outstanding dinner. This was what we had hoped to experience at L'Espalier last year and didn't. Peaceful atmosphere, wonderful service, and food cooked with absolute precision and talent - this was a home run.
354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210