Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Side Trip: Restaurant week dinner at Rialto

For restaurant week last Thursday, I was offered the chance as fill-in wife for my friend whose wife was out of town to complete a reservation for four at Rialto in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square.  I took it.  

I had never been to Rialto before, and after seeing their normal menu prices, and normal prix fixe menu price of $70/pp, I understood why.  It was the perfect place at which to take advantage of the $33.11 restaurant week menu.  

I started with the Early spring minestrone… pesto, beans, toasted pine nuts.  It was light and hot and delicious.  Just what I needed for the sore-throat-that-just-won't-end.  The other options that were had at my table were Mozzarella… artichokes, tomatoes, anchovies, mint (sans the anchovies) and Quercia cured ham… asparagus, salsa verde, aged goat cheese.  Everybody raved.  

The main course options were Floppy tomato lasagna… farro pasta, ricotta, basil, Char… avocado, quinoa, crème fraiche (which I had)Smoked and roasted chicken… chorizo, chick peas, peppers, and Roast lamb leg… potatoes, peas, pancetta, grains of paradise.  Two people at the table got the lamb, and one shared, so I got a bite or two.  I thought it was outstanding and the original reason I hadn't gotten it was because I don't normally like lamb.  I'm beginning to realize that maybe I do like lamb if it's prepared the right way.  I though the char was prepared well, but the fish itself didn't have a ton of a flavor.  I originally avoided the lasagna, because who wants to get lasagna at restaurant week?, but after seeing the recipe (it's one of the ones they post on their website), I kind of regret it.  It sounds very interesting.  One person in my party also had the chicken and was quite pleased.

Dessert options were a Chocolate torta with espresso custard filled bomboliniPineapple coconut sorbet,  toasted coconut, chocolate mint sauce, and Caramel macadamia cornmeal crust tart with banana rum sauce.  I was afraid that the chocolate would be too rich and a macadamia tart did nothing for me.  I got the sorbet, which was just what I needed because it was delicious, but not overly filling.  And it came with this cookie that I haven't been able to stop thinking about since I ate it.  It was like being in the tropics with every bite.  (I asked for the recipe and respectfully told they weren't giving it out at this time, but I'm going to keep at it.)

All in all, I was very impressed; I found the food to be incredible and service to be delightful.  If anybody has a rich uncle coming in from out of town, this is definitely a place worthwhile of letting him take you.

Since eating there, I have also become slightly obsessed with their website on which they offer a variety of recipes which I will get around to trying just as soon as I finish this road trip (so in 2013 maybe).  I also saw that they offer cooking classes with the chef, which I think would be something definitely worth doing.  Anyone want to come along? Unfortunately, the next one is 4/16 and I'm already taking a class that day - in chocolate making :-)

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