July 7th, 2010

Menton, Boston

Friend: So where are you going for your anniversary dinner?

G: Menton. I can’t wait to be disappointed.

F: Huh? Why are you going if you think you are going to be disappointed?

G: Well, I have to go, its Barbara Lynch’s new place. For the readership, you know. But, it seems like these high end, fine dining places never live up to the hype (i.e. Arrows, O Ya) and I always leave disappointed.

F: Er, well, have fun?


People were calling Lynch crazy to be opening an ultra high-end, formal, fine dining restaurant in this economy. There is no a la carte menu; your choice is between a four course prix fixe ($95) and a seven course tasting menu ($145). Good luck getting out of the restaurant with spending less than three bills for a party of two.


R and I decided on the four course menu, as there were options for each of the courses and we would end up trying a larger sampling of the menu.


The amuse was a tuna rillette – basically a tuna pate. It was small, tasty bite. We started with the Maine lobster salad ($8 supplement) and a foie gras terrine. The foie was excellent; it was smooth, meaty and unctuous. I wished Mj and Brian, who appreciate foie as much as we do, could have been there to share it with us.  The lobster was also delicious, it was perfectly cooked and I was worried that the brininess of the lobster would clash with the saltiness of the caviar topping, but instead of fighting each other they enhanced one another.


The fish course consisted of an expertly prepared turbot, which is a meaty, white, flatfish and the kataifi wrapped langoustines ($12 supplement), which has already garnered much press. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the langoustines, but the filo wrapped crustaceans was reminiscent of a fried shrimp from a pupu platter. The most well-prepared, high quality fried shrimp you’ll ever have, but fried shrimp, all the same.


I chose the quail stuffed with foie gras for my meat course and R had the lamb. My quail was delicate and satisfying all at the same time while the lamb was a rosy medium rare and tender.


At this point, we were offered a cheese course. We chose four cheeses ($6, each), and I do not remember the names of any of them, sorry. There was a blue goat’s milk, one sheep’s milk, a due latte, and an assertive cow’s milk. Our waiter also added a grana, when I expressed interest in it. The cheeses were lovely, but as with all cheese courses, R feels that you can do just as well going to Formaggio kitchen and eating samples.


My disappointment finally arrived at the dessert course. My lemon tart was bright and fresh, but it was nothing outstanding or original. R’s chocolate dessert was a “tribute to the movies” which involved extruded tubes of chocolate and peanuts and an ice cream. It had good flavor, but failed to wow us. I was impressed by the mini French macaroons that came with the check. They were the size of M&M’s and were perfectly precious.


The bread service included one perfect, flaky and hot croissant at the beginning of the meal and 3 types of rolls: rosemary, multi-grain and oatmeal. The rosemary was my favorite of the rolls, but I could have eaten four more croissants if they were offered.    

Our service was outstanding – it achieved the flawless balance of attentive without being intrusive. We were initially seated next to a boisterous table of 6 and within minutes, our server, Brad, asked us if we would like to move to a quieter table. We gratefully accepted and moved to a quiet corner table. During the first course, R noted that the ratio of one piece of toast that came with the foie gras was not enough, as he popped the last of the bread into his mouth. Half a microsecond later, a fresh piece of hot toast appeared. We laughed that the table must be bugged. I tested this theory by making repeated statements to R about really wanting another croissant, but none came. Oh well.


R would like to return to try the 7 course menu. I think it is a lovely choice for a special occasion, but it’s hard to justify spending that much for a meal. The next day, we went to Chauncy Creek and had chowder, steamers, corn and a 3 pound lobster for $70. We sat at a picnic table by the creek and watched the sun glistening off the water. As I dunked a succulent piece of lobster tail in to the clarified butter, I think was my meal at Menton five times better than this? Probably not.




Food: A

Service: A+

Value: C

Overall: A-