Last week, Z and I braved the freezing cold...and wet, falling snow...for dinner at Rialto Restaurant in Harvard Square. We may or may not have walked from our house in Porter Square, which normally would be fine, but - as I mentioned before - it was freezing and snowing. Thankfully, we made it to Rialto alive.
We had a gift card to Rialto, which gave us a chance to finally try this highly acclaimed restaurant. The prices are a bit high for a "normal" evening out, but with James Beard Award-winning Chef Jody Adams in the kitchen, it's no surprise why.
Z and I sat in the bar area, which was still an elegant and romantic spot to dine in. (Also, the bar menu had a few more vegetarian options for us).
My meal began with a glass of pinot noir ($12).
After we placed our order for dinner, our slightly over attentive yet very knowledgeable waitress brought us some fresh, crusty rolls with dipping oil - made with some of the best olive oil I've ever tasted.
For our meal, Z and I decided to split a bunch of small plates so we could try a little bit of everything. First up: the cheese plate ($16), which came with three different types of cheeses and accompanying fruits and handmade, rustic crackers.
Z and I are tough critics when it comes to our cheese plates, but Rialto's version did not disappoint. There was more than enough cheese for the two of us to split, and the almond-stuffed dates, fresh grapes, and tangy fruit "jelly" (it was more like a grown-up Fruit Roll-Up) were all fantastic complements to the cheeses.
I'm a terrible blogger and didn't write down the name of these chickpea cakes ($5), but trust me when I tell you, they were much more delicious than they look. Somehow, a ton of flavor was infused in these little cakes, and the accompanying herb sauce was a fresh and necessary addition to the dish.
Next up was the arancini ($5), which was chocked full of perfectly cooked risotto and melty, delightfully salty taleggio cheese. The breading on the outside was wonderfully crisp without being greasy, and the sweeter tomato sauce underneath it all made for a divine dipping sauce.
We also ended up dipping our arancini (and, well, everything else) in these saffron peppers ($5).
Chocked full of golden raisins and pine nuts, these sweet, saffron-infused peppers were borderline addictive. Honestly, you wouldn't think a bowl of soft peppers would be so good, but they were. Sometimes, the simplest dishes - when done well - can be the best, and this was our favorite dish of the night.
All in all, we had an incredible meal at Rialto, and we were both so glad we finally got to try this place out. Trying just a few small dishes in the bar area also made the meal somewhat affordable, while still being special.
Have you ever dined at Rialto before? If yes, what's your review?