Got an early jump on Dine Out Boston with a table for 6 at Menton. In decades of Boston restaurant week, this was probably the best experience yet. Not inexpensive when several of our party added cheese and foie gras supplements, but we had a fabulous Menton meal for a lot less than normal. An amuse of labne with micro greens started us off. Bread service is stellar, starting with mini Parker House rolls served with single-cow butter (Babette from Vermont ) and sea salt. Subsequent bread offerings included onion rolls, olive focaccia, mini baguettes. First course off the Dine Out Boston menu, I had the hamachi crudo, a generous portion with citrus and micro greens. I added the foie gras supplement, beautifully seared with onion and potato accompaniment (also splurged on a Sauterne). Branzino for a main course, skin-on filet, the skin crisped and the fish still moist, beautifully done. I had the chocolate desert but half our group got the supplemental cheese plate, three gorgeous cheeses and accoutrements - to uniform raves. Wines by the glass are interesting, we tried a semi-dry sparkling moscato, a vermintino, a Nebbiolo, and a Bordeaux blend, all excellent.
Service was stellar, though there was one amusing miscommunication. I asked a runner for a list of digestifs, and a waiter appeared with a giant bottle of hand sanitizer. Not sure what they thought I was requesting .
Wish we could afford to dine at Menton more regularly! A true indulgence.
Interesting to hear - my wife went for Dine Out lunch at Menton last year and was so underwhelmed by the service and cooking that we never went to Menton since then even though we tend to look out for tasting menu restaurants - perhaps dinner at Menton is very different than lunch.
A friend and I hit Boston Chops (South End location) for Dine Out Boston (or Restaurant Week, as I continue to think of it) last night. We went a couple of years back and agreed that there is real value for money on their RW $38 prix fixe menu.
Freshly baked popovers and nicely soft butter arrived first. I can resist most bread baskets but not popovers!
We started by sharing the oxtail croquettes (two golf-ball sized ones in a puddle of red pepper sauce). These were delicious and the fry job excellent.
Next up a deconstructed Caesar salad – 6 full Romaine leaves, dressed on the bottom sides, cradled in a crispy slice of bread formed into a U shape, flanked by white anchovies and curls of cheese. Beautiful to look at, very tasty, but a lot of work to cut up and eat (presumably the format was an effort to cut down on labor in the kitchen).
We each ordered the hangar steak frites. This arrives on a platter (perfectly cooked to medium rare as ordered) with a dressed arugula salad and a large empty space which is soon filled as someone arrives with a gigantic bowl of freshly made French fries and piles them up on your plate until you stop him. Both steak and frites were fabulous. Arugula salad was a bit over-dressed. We ordered all 3 sauces on offer ($3 supplement for the third, showing how thin margins are for RW). We really liked both the peppercorn and bearnaise and thought the Boston Chops House sauce was vile: like A1 with added ketchup and sugar. We also ordered sides of brussels sprouts with bacon and mixed mushrooms with herbs which were great but entirely surplus to requirements, meaning I have most of both of them in my fridge.
We got one of each dessert. Sticky toffee pudding is a favorite of my DC’s and she loved it (far too sweet for my taste). The almond sponge cake was tasty. Both desserts were mercifully small.
We had a lovely bottle of red that the waiter recommended. I am not sure I would ever pay full price at this place but once again we thought it excellent value for money at the RW price. The room is pretty, seating is very comfortable, service was both highly professional and delightful. We remembered to tip in line with their normal pricing and our waiter chased us down on the way out to thank us for that.
Sounds like the salads get treatment indicative of people who like the idea of a salad more than the execution. Nice to see that they offered items from their “rarely celebrated” menu - perhaps worth a visit even off of restaurant week for a small sample.
We ate at Talulla, at 377 Walden in Cambridge, over Dine Out. It’s the space formerly occupied by T.W. Food (and the present owners are TWF alum), and even more formerly by Aspasia (where a certain J. Child once snagged the table we had our eyes on).
We’ve had many memorable meals at both former lives of that space, and we were looking forward to our first meal at Talulla. It was a mixed bag, but the pluses outweighed the minuses. The pluses included very professional staff (we were seated exactly on time – a miracle, given that they were slammed – and nobody else was made to wait for long) , friendly service, really beautiful table settings and dishware, and (by and large) excellent food.
I had an excellent crudo to start, with lovely counterpoints (textural and taste) of sesame seeds, and a whiff of bite. My wife had potato soup with smoked salmon, again a beautiful mix of textures and complementing tastes. My main course – pork loin with a slab of belly – was exquisite to behold (slices fanned out on a bloody bed of beet puree) but a bit hard to chew through. My wife’s hake was easier in the mouth, and tastier, but here, too, the accompanying clams were chewy. My dessert – an artfully scattered mix of sesame brittle, hazelnut cake, some sort of creamy foam, and scoop of gelato – was more successful than my wife’s: a death-by-chocolate affair of dense chocolate pudding with salted-chocolate cookie, plus other chocolatey things. My wife has a very high capacity for the dark and the bitter – yes, she married me, but we are talking chocolate here – yet even she found it a bit much.
I think (hesitantly) that it’s a superb restaurant, but I’d need to eat there again (and again) to be sure the missteps I mentioned were just a Dining Out issue.