Thursday, July 3, 2014

Boston Eats - Chef's Tasting at Menton

Last year, Eric and I went to Craigie on Main to celebrate our birthdays, as well as our love of the experience of good food.  We grew up watching the early days of the Food Network and the original Iron Chef, set in Japan - and while I don't think we'll ever have a chance to eat Morimoto's food, well, the chance to be spoiled by new tastes and combinations is worth the price to us. 

For our second annual fancy birthday dinner, Eric and I went to Menton in Fort Point.  One of Barbara Lynch's restaurants, Menton is located in the same building as Sportello and Drink.

Menton Mai Tai - St Germain, Bully Boy Boston Rum, Citrus, Orgeat

The first amuse bouche: cucumber wrapped in nori with smoked salmon, caviar, and chives.

Instead of a traditional "hey we're just going to bring you lots of food" chef's tasting, Menton centers their meal around a set of flavors and ingredients.  I wish they provided a full menu after the fact, for those who want to really remember combinations and ideas.  While there is no way I would ever be able to make a deep fried Moroccan pastry with snails, there are other ways to adapt formal kitchen dishes to the world of a much less formal home cook.  It's also a very dark restaurant, so the photos you take result in much squinting (besides the fact that frequent camera usage isn't appropriate in this setting). 

Here's our set of ingredients:

royal white sturgeon caviar
pei mussel
escargot (yes, snails)
wild mushroom
grano arso (a burnt flour pasta)
foie gras de canard (duck foie gras)
chili pepper

My least favorite bite was a hibiscus geleé inside a piece of celery.  It look me right back to the world of Minnesotan jello salads...the kind with cottage cheese, apples, marshmallows, and then for some reason, celery.  And even better, they added a cilantro leaf.  Because why not, I guess?

But other than that, the rest of the night was great to extraordinary.  Noteworthy bites:
(my favorite five are bolded)

-Foie gras transformed to have the texture of a chocolate truffle, on top of a savory granola crust. 
-honey sea salt croissant
-escargot and lobster served atop the lobster shell
-earl gray dashi broth with fresh mushrooms (though oddly, my first taste of truffle just did not wow me at all)
-perfectly cooked halibut
-deep fried Middle Eastern pasty (a brik) filled with corn puree, caramelized onions, and chopped escargot
-sorrel and cucumber puree
-mushroom risotto
-seared bluefish
-foie gras plum cake with pickled plums and a bacon rillette-wrapped slice of foie gras
-poached chicken with calamari
-seared foie gras
-lamb tenderloin
-lamb belly (bacon) with poached quail egg
-Olympus tea (a citrus-y chamomile)
-carrot sorbet and ginger soda
-tarragon macaron

-chocolate mousse with balsamic glaze

Happy Birthday to us!

I can hardly wait til next year!

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