Dinner at Rialto (bar menu) - Word of caution...
Had dinner at Rialto last nite before a Regattabar show. Had never stepped foot in the place but had always heard great things. We wanted something less formal (and less expensive) so we sat in the bar area and overall had a pleasant experience.
Couple of Harpoons for the guys and a couple of flavored vodka drinks for the gals and we were raring to go. The "Antipasti" section of the menu offers $4 small plates (or 3 for $10). We had the roasted cauliflower with capers and parsley and the prosciutto parma. Both were great but SMALL. In retrospect we should have ordered a few more plates. Also order the Spicy Shrimp with Garlic off of the Bar Classics section. 6 smallish shrimp that were tasty but not too spicy.
3 of us got the Burger with Buffalo mozzarella, crispy prosciutto and a mild bbq-sauce. Burgers came exactly as ordered, but were definetely on the SMALL size. Fries were more of a waffle/lattice cut and were tasty but not a heaping portion. Do you see the pattern here?
Last DC ordered the slowed-cooked chicken with porcini, portabello, and polenta. Came in a iron skillet and was two palm-sized chicken thighs, which was a surprise since the menu didn't specifically say chicken "thighs". She enjoyed the dish but probably wouldn't have ordered it had she known it was a breast.
We had a couple of glasses of Nero D'Avola, which was ok but the wines by the glass offerings were slim pickings.
Overall, it was a decent dinner with a nice atmosphere and good service. My word of caution for those who haven't been is to expect small portions and order accordingly. If you're in the mood for a little gnosh and some cocktails and are in the Harvard Square area, I'd say it's a good solid choice.
I'm sorry to hear something bad about Rialto. Every time I've been, it's been really great (both bar and dining room). The food is consistently good (I stay away from the super expensive wines) and I think it is priced just right given the overall dining experience, location etc.
the bar menu is considerably cheaper than the regular menu. you ordered "small plates". they're not meant to equate a dinner, but bites to have with a drink or glass of wine.
as for your friend's chicken (breasts or thighs? which was it?) -- if it was 2 pieces, i'm guessing it was in the realm of 6 ounces of meat. not a typical american size portion, but more than your protein necessary for an entire day.
the regular dinner menu is broken into 3 courses -- more like a typical italian meal. the food may not be cutting edge, but is wonderfully executed, and for me, the portions are still too big to eat a 3-course dinner.
honestly, i'm sick to death of people complaining when portions aren't ginormous that they are too small.
After a recent dinner here (in the dining room, not bar), I have to concur with this reviewer. Given the high prices and exceptional reputation of this place, I was seriously underwhelmed with my meal (as were my companions with theirs). Nothing was bad, but nothing was memorable either. The menu features the usual suspects, portions were tiny (at times absurdly so), service was unremarkable. At over $100 per person, I felt ripped off.