With the popularity of three column layouts, this layout is bound to be useful to many. You may have seen this technique used at dynamic ribbon device. In fact, this "flanking menus" technique was devised by BlueRobot for that site. Surprisingly, the technique has caused quite a bit of talk. The concept is simple: a content box with large margins is flanked by two additional (menu) boxes.
An important benefit of this technique is the order of elements in the HTML source. Here, the order is essentially content, menu one, menu two. For old browsers, text-only browsers, screen-readers, and many alternative devices, this means that the content is displayed before the menus. And, after all, most users visit a page for its content.