Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pictureless Birthday Celebration #2

This year I told Matt that I didn't want a gift, I just wanted us to go to a really nice restaurant to celebrate my birthday. After some research, and apparently some hinting on my part, he picked Barbara Lynch's newest restaurant, Menton.

From the moment you walk into the restaurant you are transformed into a culinary world like none other! I was actually trying to determine if it was too "cheap" of me to pull out my camera to take pictures in such a nice restaurant. Well, I decided I should so that I could share the culinary art with the world or rather my little blog world. Matt pulled out my camera to take a quick shot of the beautiful amuse bouche when he realized that he had taken the flash card out of my card the night before. We couldn't believe it! I sulked for a little while! Then took a sip of the parsnip soup with pumpkin seed oil and two of the tiniest little pickled mushrooms I have ever seen and I forgot all about being sad (Matt would probably tell you that I never really got over the loss of the flash drive but I like my version better).

The service at Menton is phenomenal! They wished me a happy birthday as soon as we were greeted and welcomed us back, knowing that we had dined at No. 9 Park before... I know all that information is in their computer system but it makes you feel special. There are a sea of help bringing out beautiful plates of food, synchronizing the placement of the plates, and then explaining in beautiful detail the dish that was set before you. We had some great conversations and learning sessions with our beautiful server about the food. During the course of the clearing and presenting of our dinner plates we met the General Manager, Alec, who we had a chance to talk to for a little bit. He invited us for a tour of the kitchen when we were done with our meal. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! I was in heaven! We proceeded to eat a couple of more courses, including a complimentary cheese course with an Austrian dessert wine pairing. After dinner we didn't want to search for Alec and demand to see the kitchen so we decided we would just take our leave from the beautiful restaurant and head home. Lucky for me, Alec saw us on our way out and made sure that we got the kitchen tour that I wanted! The kitchen is beautiful and spotless. The chefs and sous chefs were so in sync that they didn't even need to talk and beautiful food was created. It was like watching a beautifully choreographed ballet. Last but not least, Barbara Lynch had just shown up to oversee the rest of the dinner service. I got to see the master chef in action! You can't even imagine how giddy I was that night! During our kitchen tour we mentioned to Alec how I write a food blog and was unable to take photos which is when he informed us that he had two extra flash cards in his office. What bad timing for this conversation! Oh well. He was kind enough to email me our own personalized version of our prix fixed menu from our Thursday night dinner including the cheese we selected so I could at least share words with my readers.

Matt's Prix Fixed Menu

Late Winter Vegetable Salad
Banyuls Vinegar, Yogurt, Shallot
*The salad was all early spring vegetables cooked in their own juices and beautifully placed on top of a yogurt, shallot dressing with little cubes of vinegar jelly that was a burst of flavor in your mouth as you ate the salad*

Duet of Beef
Parsley Root, Pearl Onions, Sauce Perigueux
*If my memory is correct there was a piece of 24 hour slow cooked short rib and two slice of beef tenderloin on top of the parsnip puree. The meat was so tender and delicious!!*

Elysian Field Farm Lamb
Eggplant, Citrus, Black Garlic
*Neither Matt nor I are big lamb fans but they were kind enough to substitute this dish from their chef's tasting menu for him because he doesn't eat seafood. This dish made us both a fan of lamb! It was beautifully done! Fantastic flavors!*

Palet d'Or

Honey, Pine Nut, Milk Glace
*I don't know how Matt knew that this was chocolate but it was and boy was he happy! Lots of delicious chocolaty heaven!*

Lauren's Prix Fixed Menu

Terrine of Foie Gras de Canard
Muscat Grapes, Truffles, Walnuts
*Beautiful foie gras with the truffles delicately placed in slivers symmetrically throughout the canard of foie gras. Along with the grapes were little jelly squares of muscat as well. So delicious on top of the perfectly toasted piece of bread! I probably won't order foie gras again though because I can't eat a whole meal size (too rich for me to finish and be able to finish additional courses) but I think I probably insulted the chef, they came back to ask me if everything was okay with it and I felt awful. Our waitress understood though.*

Watercress Veloute
Morels, Mussels, Saffron
*Deliciously prepared watercress soup with delicate morels and mussels. I couldn't have imagined a better second course!*

Cavendish Vermont Quail Farci
Asparagus, Ramp, Pistachio
*Quail stuffed with foie gras on top of a ramp puree with asparagus. YUM!*

Rhubarb Clafoutis
Orange Blossom Glace, Pistachio
*A white cake topped with pickled rhubarb, pistachio crumbles, and orange blossom ice cream. I felt like I was floating on a cloud! Served with "Happy Birthday" delicately inscribed on the plate in chocolate and one single candle. Beautiful!*

The cheese course that we shared included:
Leonora, a goat cheese from Spain
Cravero Parmigiano-Reggiano, a hard cow cheese, from Italy
Gorgonzola Dolce, a soft cow cheese from Italy

They paired the cheese with a glass of dessert wine, NV Kracher Trockenbeerenauslese from Austria. Words cannot explain the perfection of the cheese course!

With the help from our server we picked an Italian wine to accompany our entire prix fixed dinner, 2003 Albino Rocca, Barbaresco, Piedmont. They decanted the wine which made the wine open up beautifully! It was delicious! One of our new favorites!

If you live in the Boston area I definitely recommend this restaurant. It is an experience that you shouldn't miss!

Maybe in a couple of years we'll have a big group of friends join us for dinner at the chef's kitchen table where we could watch our meals be made!

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