Langoustines For The First Time – Dinner at Menton

Imagine you have a ridiculously rich relative who invited you over for dinner at home. You’re a little intimidated, look forward to it for weeks, and have really high expectations for the wonderful food you’ve been hearing so much about. You get a little nervous – should I dress up? Will there be dozens of little forks and I won’t know what to use? Will I eat something I’ve never eaten before? Will I be tempted to steal something from the elegant bathrooms? (The answers  are: only if you want to, no, yes, and yes.) That is what Menton felt like for me.

I thought the atmosphere there would be really stuffy and formal, but it actually felt really pleasant and comfortable. Menton has been on my list of special restaurants to visit (like O Ya) and I had really high expectations – after all, I pretty much swoon over No. 9 Park and Sportello, other Barbara Lynch restaurants. When we arrived at Menton, it was like being immediately enveloped in a serene embrace. Low lights, warm smiles, everyone dressed in black, with the servers and employees seemingly gliding around the restaurant – it all felt very welcoming and elegant. We were ushered to our table, then the food experience began.

We started with wine, of course. Menton’s wine list is like a heavy bible but I didn’t really peruse it much. I’ve already admitted that I’m no expert wine connoisseur and I’m glad we went with red wines I like: a sweeter Shiraz and a heavier Chianti.  As soon as the wine glasses were set, we were presented with this:

amuse bouche of chilled golden beet soup with pickled melon

and the cutest little mini honey croissants

We all decided to get the 4-course prix fixe. Menton does not offer any ala carte options – you can either get the prix fixe ($95), which lets you choose a dish per course, or the Chef’s Tasting ($145), which is a set menu.

first course:  Salad of Winter Roots and Vegetables

I wish I didn’t forget my camera (all pics are from my iPhone) because this dish was just beautiful. And it tasted delightful too. There were different textures and flavors, some sharp, some mild; it was like eating a deconstructed piece of art. It was the perfect first course.

second course: Kataifi Wrapped Langoustines

I have never eaten langoustines before (langoustines are small lobsters, also called Norway Lobster) and they were absolutely fantastic. They were wrapped in kataifi, which is basically crispy strings of phyllo (I’ve had it recently at Oleana too).  These sweet baby lobsters with delicate crispy wrapping were, without a doubt, my favorite part of my Menton meal. Sometimes you eat something for the first time, and the memory stays with you forever. I know this is a simple dish – it’s basically just a crustacean wrapped in fancy dough – but Menton did something special with the preparation that made me enamored with it.

third course: Grimaud Farm Duck

Duck confit on the left, duck breast in the middle, and mushrooms on the right. I was actually much more impressed with the mushrooms (they tasted just like duck!) than the actual duck, but I do love this poultry so I was satisfied.

fourth course: Kalamansi Ricotta Cheesecake

Kalamansi is a small citrus fruit native to the Philippines and other parts of South East Asia. It’s a small 1-inch yellowish green globe, and it tastes like the marriage of a lemon and lime. I was ecstatic to find it in Menton’s menu! In the plate above, the yellow globes are the kalamansi cheesecakes (they were about the size of real kalamansi), and it came with a couple of scoops of ice cream and a couple of cubes of some sort of sponge or butter cake. While this whole plate was so whimsical and a joy to look at, unfortunately it did not live up to its pretty image. Everything was good, yes, but I wasn’t very impressed. I thought the cheesecake would be similar to a key lime pie, but made with kalamansi, but it was more like a round ricotta cheesecake ball, dipped in a kalamansi gel.

we also had a cheese plate right before the dessert course

We had several cheeses, and I really liked the gouda, blue, and triple milk cheese (made with cow, goat, and sheep’s milk).

Now let’s retreat a little and talk about what I really wanted… from the ladies room. As soon as I stepped into that elegant room, I smelled the most chic, velvety, lovely aroma. The candle at the corner immediately caught my attention and I came over to inspect it – the label said Menton, and only had some serial numbers, no brand. Did God make this? Where did this enticing candle come from?? 

Back at our table at the end of our meal, we were presented with these adorable bites:

teeny tiny macarons!

You all know about my love for teeny tiny foods and dessert bites – the cuteness of these macarons were just too much. They came in pink peppercorn, green tea, cinnamon, and vanilla flavors. I tried the green tea and vanilla, both were delicious. These little babies actually put our whole table in such a great mood – something about eating cute things maybe makes everyone smile? And just when I thought I couldn’t smile any wider, look at what our server gave us:

room spray samples of the Menton candle scent!

At the end of our meal, our server gave us some brochures about the glassware (because she overheard us talking about it) and individual samples of the room spray (because when she asked if we have any questions, I piped up about the wonderful candle in the bathroom). It turns out that the candle was especially made for Menton, selected by Barbara Lynch, and it is sold for $65…  I didn’t buy it but I was so happy to go home with the little room spray.

Did I like Menton? Yes, I certainly did. The service was absolutely phenomenal, the langoustines were just exquisite, and I felt very welcome and pampered. Was it worth the price? Our final bill came out to about $200 per person and for that price point, I would much rather go back to O Ya.  But I will always remember our meal though. Menton was such an elegant dining experience, and I had wonderful time with my friends. And I will always crave for this:

kataifi wrapped langoustines at Menton

Have you had langoustines before?

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