We love chef Barbara Lynch for many reasons, but here’s one that stands out: butter. Has there ever been a better thing? Lynch knows—more than a packet to be distributed pre-meal, butter is both a staple and a delicacy, a food that elevates other foods, a food that definitely warrants having your own personal grass-fed Jersey cow (hers, named Babette, lives in Vermont).
If butter elevates everything else, why not make it the central ingredient of a dish? And so tasting menus begin at the polished, exquisite Menton—with Butter Soup. Your server pours the golden broth over tiny morsels of lobster and local shellfish crowned with a dollop of caviar and a honey emulsion foam. Eyes widen. A gilded glow envelopes you. Flavors are decadent yet miraculously lightweight. It’s gone too fast, you think, gazing at the glistening sheen on the bottom of the bowl.
Not to worry; diligent servers quickly come to the rescue, placing a butter dish in front of you alongside a saucer of sea salt. Then the silver bread tray arrives: mini baguettes, tiny croissants, pretzel rolls. This might be the first time you’ve nibbled on a croissant next to a dish of spot prawn surrounded by radish-shingled dollops of crab meat sprinkled with even more caviar—but a meal at Menton yields plenty of surprises.
Ever since opening No. 9 Park in 1998, Lynch has steadily expanded her culinary empire. And here, on an unassuming block in Fort Point not far from her native neighborhood of Southie, is its core. To the left is Italian Sportello, downstairs is craft cocktail mecca Drink. Among them, Menton is in a class of its own, an unabashedly indulgent display of its owner’s accumulated mastery. The names of the priciest tasting menu (Into Evolution) and the more inventive side of the cocktail menu (Evolutionary) thus seem to fit—here is evidence of Lynch’s own evolution into one of the country’s most successful restauranteurs.
Picking a favorite aspect of a Menton meal usually renders us speechless (“It was so good I stopped taking notes after the second course,” wrote a Boston magazine reporter in 2010). But a few things linger in our memory: a certain lardo-wrapped bay scallop, a plate of the tiniest macaroons, the way the sea salt crystals sparkle on that butter-smothered morsel of bread.
Don’t overlook Menton’s Gold Bar. It’s tawny and marbled, cozy and airy enough to linger over a cocktail and a haute bar snack (think Chestnut Gnocchi, Foie Gras Frankfurter, and Bay Scallop Crudo). Friendly bartenders round out the experience.
Have 11 friends you want to impress? Reserve the private Chef’s Table for an intimate experience with a view into the action of the adjacent kitchen.
If you opt for wine pairings, you’ll notice that each pour comes in a different-shaped glass, each with a remarkably tiny stem. These glasses, made by Zalto Glashütte in Austria, are about four times more expensive than your average fine-dining glassware. Instead of a stem attached to a bowl, they’re composed of a single piece of glass. Buy them via Menton’s online shop for $75 apiece.
Menton is a beautiful, pastel-hued French town perched on the Mediterranean Sea and on the border with Italy—a fitting namesake given this restaurant’s fusion of French and Italian influences.
Tastes of Menton
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