[Shanghai Restaurant Week] M1NT
M1NT Restaurant & Grill | m1ntglobal.com | Dianping
Address: 福州路318号24楼(近山东中路) – 24F, 318 Fuzhou Rd near Shandong Middle Rd (黄浦区 Huangpu District)
Date visited: 2014.03 for Restaurant Week
Total bill: RMB¥258 per person (Restaurant Week set price) + extra for drinks
Will return: If the next restaurant week menu improves
The only times I have been to M1NT have been after midnight so stepping into this building at 8pm was strange. For those who didn’t know M1NT had a restaurant: you have the lounge to the left and club to the right of the reception desk after you walk out of the elevator; the restaurant is behind the lounge area. While we are on this topic, did you know M2 apparently has a cafe? I am not kidding. I have testimony from a coworker who went for lunch.
Since Shanghai Restaurant Week reservations opened, I have gotten a lot of questions about where to eat. I tend to not be as enthusiastic about Restaurant Week as some of my friends are because I prefer to eat at restaurants on less busy days and order off the normal menu. What I like to look for in Restaurant Week is restaurants that offer dishes they normally serve (rather than made-for-restaurant-week dishes) to justify going.
The point of Restaurant Week, or at least how I think it should be, is for restaurants to offer their signature dishes (or even slightly modified versions) for a lower-than-normal price which, if successful, would encourage customers to come back for a full price visit in the future. For restaurants, it is a short term revenue sacrifice for a potential long term gain of customers. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case with a lot of restaurants’ offerings as I often see menu items that are made just for Restaurant Week. But as always, I end up making a few reservations and filling in for friends’ reservations anyway. Resistence has been futile.
In the case of M1NT, some of its better known entrees, such as the miso cod and steak cuts, were left off the Restaurant Week menu. I am not asking for top Wagyu beef, just some part of a cow would have sufficed. The entree choices this time were halibut, mackerel, or chicken. While the meal was fine and not bad by any means, there was just no wow factor that made this menu stand out from other high end restaurants. For me, not being able to try some of the signature dishes is the main reason M1NT won’t be on top of my splurge list on a normal day. As far as a meal here goes, my friends and I agree M1NT is worth trying once for the name; a return visit will be up to you.
With a party of 8, we were able to snatch up this nice room with wine lining the walls that partially separated us from the general dining area.
We got a bottle of wine (RMB¥500) on top of our set menu prices to share.
We received warm bread boxes (complimentary) with soft butter. The baguettes were the best.
Vegetable soup, crunchy butter bread, sour cream, chives
Liked the crunch elements mixed into the hearty thick soup.
Beef tartare, quail egg, herbs, toast
The beef tartare, arriving at the table with the distinct scent of truffle oil, was my favorite dish on the menu tonight. The beef was delicious and not gamey at all, complemented with some light seasoning.
Halibut grilled on the bone, tomato chutney, oregano
The halibut tasted like grilled fish you could get from a typical Japanese robata and then topped with some tomatos (because that makes it fusion?). The bone-in is problematic for people like me who grew up having parents take fish off the bone (or am I the only one?).
In house smoked chicken, straw ashes sauce, black pepper
We liked this more than the halibut but in the end it was still just chicken, which I am only interested in when it is fried or Hainan style. The chicken was brought out in burnt-looking boxes, which I presume was used to smoke the chicken. The server then laid three pieces on the plate. Nothing else. Literally just chicken. It tasted good and I particularly liked the fatty skin bit but I guess I just expected more elaborance from M1NT in terms of presentation.
Each set also came with one side and I tried the chives potato foam and swiss chard. The potato foam was a delicious whipped potato mash that managed to taste light and creamy at the same time. The swiss chard was soaked in an unfit dressing when simply sautéing it in olive oil would have been fine.
The two desserts that were offered were simple, straightforward, and well-made. The cheese cake was topped with blueberry sauce in the style of a dense New York style cheesecake with a tasty graham crust (which I normally don’t like on cheesecakes).
The M1NT special chocolate, vanilla bean ice cream, toffee crunch was a lava cake that oozed with warm, rich chocolate sauce. This is the type of lava cake that fulfills your expectations when it tastes as warm, chocolatety, and gooey as you imaged it to be when your spoon first cut into it. One guy was scraping the last bit of lava from both his and another’s plate and guys don’t usually even like dessert.
M1NT’s definition of petit fours is four slices of chocolate wedged between big rocks to be shared among the eight of us. I am all for sharing but it was a little weird leaning over to break off chocolate pieces…