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RW - Rialto

We had dinner at Rialto a couple of days ago. The place was packed, so I guess RW is working for them.

I had the potato gnocchi, grilled bluefish and flan. DH had the serrano (recommendation of waiter), pork tenderloin and espresso torta. I found my dinner pleasant, nothing exciting or disappointing. DH was much happier with his meal and judging from the samples I tasted, he made better choices. The serrano was as good as the waiter had said. It was perfectly paired with agrodolce peaches. The pork tenderloin came with bacon and beans, a combination I thought a little heavy. The pork was fine, the bacon and beans simply fantastic - great flavors in small bites. The espresso torta was a dense chocolate wedge with little or no espresso but very nice nonetheless.

Service was prompt, a little too much so. Dishes were cleared the instant a fork or glass was laid down. We were not offered any coffee or tea, just the check. At the adjoining table, the wait staff started to clear the table while the diners were still eating. This was the only objectionable part of the RW experience, the hustle of the restaurant to turn the table over.

I've dined at Rialto before and not been overly impressed. That could be the choices I've made. DH is ready to go back, I'm not so sure.

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  1. This is helpful! I've got reservations at Rialto next week (for RW) and now I know probably not to get the bluefish. Thanks!

    1 Reply
    1. re: taylor_blair

      The pork tenderloin is definitely the main to get IMO. Icarus does a wonderful bluefish which I had a few weeks ago. Rialto's bluefish is fine, just not in the stellar category.

    2. We're off to Rialto this evening. As we are not pork eaters, I plan to call them later in the day to find out what the RW menu options are. Anybody out there already know?

      1 Reply
      1. Dax --

        Wasn't aware that the menu was on the net. Many thanks.

        1. We were there last night. It was a fairly pleasant RW experience. The place was packed, and they were running a bit behind, but we waited in the bar area with a glass of wine and both Jody and Michela Larson were coming around chatting with people and offering little bites (fried sole strips and salmon ceviche on a cuke slice) to those waiting. Very gracious.

          We had the serrano jamon and gnocchi apps. I really liked the gnocchi. The jamon was fine, just not as interesting. I had the pork entree- pink and juicy with not too much sauce, it was a litte plain, but good anyway. The pork belly with it is really good. Our other entree was the bluefish, which we both liked, but we are bluefish fans. DH especially liked the crispy skin. Yeah, I know it's bad for you, full of PCBs and all, but it's only a little and pork belly isn't exactly health food either...

          Service was fine- we didn't feel rushed at all.

          We've eaten at Rialto at non-RW times, and the food is better, but this was very nice for the price.

          1. Had dinner last night. We had an 8:00 reservation but didn't get seated until 8:40. The place was hopping. And during our meal the tables kept turning over which was surprising since I thought they stopped serving at 10:00

            During our wait in the lounge they offered several free appetizer tastings. Chilled gazpacho, duck pate, tomato and ricotta on toasted baguette, salmon on cucumber slices.

            Dinner was fine. The gnocci was great although a huge dish with only 4 gnocchi. Definitely the app to start with. The spiced chicken was a good-sized portion and the salmon was tasty as well. We tried the sorbet and flan, with the flan being the winner.

            The room was noisy and the meal a bit fast paced, especially after having waited 40 minutes to get a table in the first place. They get you in and out even with a late reservation. However, all the food was delicious and I'd recommend it, although I believe tonight is the last night for RW.

            1. Well it's Restaurant Week 2007 and we went to Rialto. First off, the cold white interior really does nothing to stimulate the appetite. We sat at the bar, ordered cocktails. Drinks were fine, service fairly aloof. Notice a tray of bruscetta sitting at the far end of the bar. Eventually (20 minutes)a waitress starts offering them to the bar patrons. Unfortunately they had sat out too long. I tried the beef tenderloin, spouse had the salami. With both, the bread was starting to go stale. Good thing they were small bites.

              Ordered the risotto fritters, nothing spectacular. Mediocre tomato sauce came with it. Next we tried the restaurant week menu. I had the Farm lettuce with cucumber, corn and tomato, roasted chicken breast and chocolate expresso torta. Spouse had the grilled little necks with andouille, salmon and berries with corn shortcake. I ordered better than spouse. Salad was decent, good flavors. Chicken moist, but salty and the torta nice chocolate flavor, but no hint of expresso. Spouse's little neck w/ andouille was 6 nice little necks and 3 slices of kielbasa. Yes, kielbasa, ok I may have spelled it wrong, but it wasn't andouille. The salmon was not fresh, it didn't seem to have been frozen, but it had a consistency of salmon that had been in the fridge for a few days. The berry corn shortcake was just blah.

              Overall, we're glad we went during restaurant week because we would have been extremely disappointed if we had paid full price. We definitely will not be going back anytime soon. Instead we'll we'll go to Noir downstairs. Not a full menu there, but really good snacks.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jjbourgeois

                How sad for you! TC and I went for an 8:00 rez last nite, Sunday night. Although the restaurant was busy, we arrived early, and they could still seat us promptly. Service was so gracious from our French-accented waiter it was classic (tho I asked TC if he thought the accent was real; he said that's why they hired him...;))
                The excellent, chewy sourdough rolls were served with EVOO and sea salt; we restrained ourselves to just one each.

                We started with the spinach gnocchi, with roasted baby turnips and golden beets in a parmagianno cream, a daily special added to the RW menu, with no surcharge....I had to have gnocchi there, because both times I've had Jody's at Taste of the Nation, they've just melted in your mouth towards the end of each bite. These didn't dissapoint. We also did a surcharge for an app of the lobster spaghetti. Refreshing to see it actually called 'spaghetti', and these were thicker strands, perfectly al dente. The sauce had a little bite to it, and there was actually a good deal of discernable lobster. I'd do a plate of the gnocchi for dinner anytime, tho..

                I had the pan-roasted salmon,instead of bluefish, because I had just made caponata the day before. The salmon was fresh, and cooked PERFECTLY; crispy on the outside, translucent in the center. The fillets had been butchered to be about a 2x2x4", so they really lent themselves to juicy bites. Potatoes with olives and figs were a little unusual, but good.

                TC, OTOH, had chicken. He said it was the ultimate challenge to see if they could do something amazing with chicken. He took one bite, and his eyes just rolled back in his head; he is not given to voicing overly enthusiastic opinions of food, often telling me "It's just FOOD..." But here, he pronounced it the best chicken he had ever eaten. For such a plain-looking, prosaic dish, the brining must have been something special to reach this height of culinary nirvana for him. He couldn't stop talking about it..

                The pastry chef continued the magic for dessert. He had the chocolate espresso torte. He tried a bite, and said, "This is just _wrong_..." He offered me a bite, and I understood. In that it was wrong for something to taste this good. The crunch of espresso beans were the perfect backdrop to the intense, bitter chocolate..It was truly amazing.

                The only misstep of the nite was my watermelon rum refresher...Lighter than a sorbet, which was welcome, but kept WAYYYYYY too cold in the freezer. I broke pieces off with a fork....

                There were no wine flights, but plenty of by the glass options. We weren't hurried at all, in fact, we had to ask for the check...Our waiter, with eyes in the back of his head, registered this from halfway across the room..

                Jody would probably kick herself to know, however, that we were so thrilled by our meal, we stopped at the hostess station to look at the regular menu, and the woman was totally flummoxed by the request...We waited a few minutes, but it seemed an impossible task, so we gave up, and savored our meal all the way home...Too bad that dessert isn't on the regular menu; TC really wanted to lick his plate...

                1. re: galleygirl

                  Funny, almost the same entree's and 2 very different experiences. Not a good sign for a restaurant in Rialto's price range. It's pretty easy to tell fresh fish. Ours obviously wasn't. This seems like Jody, isn't spending enough time in the kitchen and is too busy with other ventures. It's sad when a potentially great restaurant with a good chef goes down hill due to lack of attention to detail.