Restaurants & Bars

Boston Area Cambridge

Rialto, Harvard Sq., Cambridge

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Restaurants & Bars 4

Rialto, Harvard Sq., Cambridge

Limster | Jan 21, 2004 11:53 PM

A very comfortable, open dining room. A very well tended restaurant with polished down-to-earth service, with well trained waitstaff capable of reciting briskly the ingredients that make a presented dish. Gracious, helpful staff.

A single rippling fresh oyster, chilled and bolstered with sharp vinaigrette. Beside it, gold and red beets, precisly cut into tiny dice, surround a half of a white beet, the vegetables, carried by a good pungent horseradish cream.

Veins of cabbage and radicchio add textural interest to a soft sticky polenta rounded by fondua (cream, eggs, cheese). Salty buttery cheesy flavours take the fruit of the caramelized pears well, along with a crispy garnish of sage leaves.

A bounty of scallops, lovely browned on one surface, just the right chewy resistance. Small leafed greens for contrast, little pieces of white salsify cut cleverly to resemble little scallops, a butter piece of leek beneath it all, and a nutty buttery sauce (brown butter?), laced with enough musky truffle oil to make a good impression.

Rosy venison, cut into medallions, in a rich sticky demi-glace. Earthy farrow and fruitty figs working nicely with the meat. A nice showpiece of a thin eggplant chip, more of a quick edible garnish than a real side.

Loved how the creamy coconut (and pineapple?) sorbet felt against the soft flopped down warm chocolate souffle cake. A pair of tasty sweet coconut macaroon.

A pricey good meal with excellent execution on classic flavour combinations. I wouldn't fault the exceptional cooking in any way, but not dying to go back for their tasting menu (above), given that there are cheaper tasting menus elsewhere that are comparable (Sage always comes to mind). But may be a good place to just order a la carte for heartwarming cooking.

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