Tonight I had dinner at Rialto as part of Boston's restaurant week. Rialto is located in the Charles Hotel in the heart of Harvard Square. Growing up I spent countless weekends bopping around Harvard Square with my family and I must have walked past Rialto literally hundreds of times, always wanting to go in, but never taking the time to make a reservation.
When the list of participating restaurants was announced for this cycle of restaurant week and Rialto was amongst them, I decided immediately to make a reservation.
When we arrived tonight we were greeted by a vibrant hostess and host. One who confirmed our reservation and the second who escorted us to our table. We were seated in the back room of the restaurant at a spacious table with a fantastic view of the square.
Our waitress arrived to explain the special restaurant week menu, and that executive chef Jody Adams had decided to also offer several house specialties in addition to the restaurant week menu that you could order a la carte, or substitute into the restaurant week offering. Very considerate!
In addition to the three course special menu, there was a specialty cocktail list as well. We started with the acai-lime rickey and the pomegranate mojito. Both drinks were a delightful shade of girly pink and tasted fruity and refreshing.
For our first course we started with the asparagus risotto and the heirloom bean soup. The risotto was warm, creamy and just the right amount of asparagus, not too overwhelming. The soup was hearty, but not heavy, and surprisingly fresh tasting (despite its dark and unappealing color). The crusty bread served in our bread basket was the perfect compliment to the soup.
For the entree course we sampled the arctic char and the cheese ravioli. The arctic char was served with a crispy skin over a bed of peas, mushrooms, pine nuts and mint. The presentation was absolutely stunning. The cheese ravioli was surprisingly light and the cheese flavor was exquisite. The pasta was garnished with tomatoes and a green herb sauce, adding an excellent burst of flavor to each bite.
Now onto dessert, my favorite course. We ordered the chocolate espresso torta and the coconut semifreddo. Both desserts arrived presented as works of art. The chocolate espresso torta was literally defying gravity. The torta was a rich, dense chocolate served with whipped cream, fresh strawberries and a chocolate chip macaroon. Are you drooling? The semifreddo was light, creamy and supremely satisfying.
Once we'd cleaned our plates (literally) our server returned with the check and said, "Ladies, please ignore this until you're ready. Absolutely no rush," which I sincerely appreciated.
On our way out the hostess asked how we enjoyed our meal, to which we replied, "it was fantastic! It was our first time and we can't wait to return." She smiled and said, "I am so glad, we look forward to seeing you again." And you know what? I believed her. The staff at Rialto was polite, friendly and wonderfully accommodating.
Overall, my experience at Rialto was off the charts. The restaurant itself was gorgeous (it felt like the sort of place where you get proposed to), the staff was incredible, the preparation of the restaurant week food and beverage menu was thoughtful, and every item we were served was exceptional.
In addition to checking out the restaurant (which you must) you can also follow executive chef Jody Adams as she competes on Season 2 of Top Chef Masters on BRAVO TV. The show premieres on Wednesday April 7th at 10:00 pm.
Keep up with all the Rialto happenings in real time by following them on Twitter @Rialto02138.