Scott Jones Is Shaking Up Menton
The chef de cuisine is finally ushering in Barbara Lynch’s original vision. And if you don’t get it, he’s ‘not going to lose sleep over that.’
Menton might be one of the most decorated (it was Boston’s first Relais & Châteaux property) and highly respected dining destinations in the city, but according to chef de cuisine Scott Jones, you haven’t seen its best days yet. In fact, for five years, the chefs and personnel behind Menton has been biding their time, waiting for the ideal moment to execute Barbara Lynch’s original vision.
“Historically, when the restaurant first opened, the original concept was to be tasting menu only,” Jones says. “That wasn’t meant to limit people’s choices. Rather, we wanted it to be like coming to someone’s amazing party, where you’re not interested in ordering off a menu, you just want to sit down and have a great time with friends. That was always the intention, but five years ago, that’s when the economic crisis was in full swing and Menton needed to provide less expensive options to get people in the door.”
After experimenting with a series of three-, four-, and seven-course prix fixe menus, Jones decided it was time to revisit their initial plan, and ultimately provide the dining experience they’d long envisioned. Starting on March 2, Menton is going to move to a longer, more ambitious tasting menu format with six, eight, or nine courses separated into two major categories, “From Elements” and “Into Evolution.”
From Elements will include signature dishes such as Menton’s butter soup, the tart of foie gras with pumpkin and pecan, and more recent successes like Jones’ lobster and chamomile tea. “It’s meant to be the dishes that we’ve been serving over the past year that guests have really loved and we can’t seem to part with yet,” Jones says. “While the Into Evolution section will be the food we’re most inspired by at the moment: the techniques, the image, the pairings, the feel. I don’t say we’re taking more risks, but we’re certainly being more playful. There’s so much stuffiness and boredom in fine dining, so we’re aiming to have fun.”
Menton will continue to regularly swap out ingredients on both sides of the new menu to take advantage of seasonal produce. Wholesale changes will be implemented every other month to welcome in new ideas and more importantly, a logical, sequential series of dishes—yes, even if that means sacrificing everyone’s favorite butter soup.
“This is not only what I think diners want, it’s what I want, what chef Barbara wants, and what our staff wants,” Jones says. “When a guest used to say that they didn’t enjoy their experience, we’d comp everything and bend over backwards to make them happy. I’m not apologizing anymore. If people don’t like the food, I’ll try to get them something that they want. But if people come in and they see the technique and see what we’re trying to do and still don’t like it, I’m fine with that. It’s not for everybody. I’m not going to lose any sleep over that. You can’t be everything to everybody and still have a soul.”
354 Congress St., Boston; 617-737-0099 or mentonboston.com.