Rialto & Henrietta's- in Charles Hotel Cambridge
Henrietta's- we were going to go for sunday bruch at 11 AM. The room was nearly empty, the host told is he had no seats left except the bar ("it would be full soon") and it was $42 per person buffet. So we skipped out...$42 pp is outrageous for brunch...you better get a lot of booze for that price.....
Rialto- went for dinner. Very expensive...NYC prices. Entrees were $28-$36, apps in the $12 range.
It tries hard to be a high end restaurant. But they kept the scuffed up wood parguet floors that look worse than the one in my apartment. Lots of velvet banquettes, big windows overlooking the plaza sort of nice sort of not.. The decdor simply didnt work. IT had nice elements, but too many disparate elements. It didnt pull it off. The clientele was very mixed- older folks in sports jackets, yonger folks more casual, etc. Acoustics were average, lighting was badly done. The whole restaurant was probably too bright, and yet on many tables there wasnt enough light...
The wine list was reasonable in size, moderate in price, but no bargains. It was not that interesting, but they covered all the bases. The staff did not seem to know much about wine, actually, and had no idea how to pair. Maybe there is a sommelier who wasnt around that night.
The food: we had a ridiculous spring vegetable salad, which basically wasnt meant for eating. Miniscule little shapes of veggies, with 3 aspics and a horseradish cream sauce. Disastrous.
Pork tenderloin on the other hand was fantastic, tender, tasty, buttery in texture, in a delicious reduction maybe onions, maybe shallots, maybe s alittle garlic...i dont know.
The cod(i think it was cod-forgot) on a bed of nettles was okay. well executed, but maybe not the best dish. no desert.
HEres the main problem with Rialto: you're just not taken care of. period. you get the feeling that the whole restaurant just doenst give a shit. im not saying our waitress only. she was pleasant enough, service was timely enough. But they dont care. They dont care what wine you order, they dont care if you dont drink any of it, they dont care if your plate gets cleared, they didnt care enough to make the restaurant seem like a unified whole, they're not attentive. You order, your food comes out, you eat it, they clear the dishes, you pay the bill. A simple production.
This is fine, except that Rialto is very expensive and bills itself as fine dining. Clio in Boston, Aria in Sydney, any number of places ive eaten in NY, pull it together far better than this place, often for less or similar money.
despite the excellent pork, i would not go back.
We actually had very good service from our waiter but it does not surprise me that as a whole your service was to cold and perfunctory. I get the feeling that can happen there.
As for our food, eight wonderful dishes which we shared. Not a single miss. We must have been luckier with what we ordered.
Sorry you missed out on what I remember as a pretty excellent brunch a couple of years ago. It's a shame that they replaced a slightly pricy but tasty and memorable ala carte brunch (oh, that warm cranberry-nut bread!) with an overpriced buffet, AND topped it off with sub-par service. What a drag.
On the other hand, thanks for reporting on so many of your Boston experiences. It's great to have you doing so much of the legwork for our next trip down there!
A round of Portland reports sure would be nice...