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Disappointing NYE experience at Rialto (Long)

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Disappointing NYE experience at Rialto (Long)

Pia | Jan 2, 2005 02:40 PM

Went to Rialto in Harvard Square for New Year's Eve. I was unhappy even before we sat down. The hostess told us that she'd let us know when they were ready to seat us. So we waited. But it seemed like no matter where we moved, we were in somebody's way -- waiters kept shouldering past us. We wondered out loud where we should be standing. One of the waiters smiled at us sympathetically, but said nothing. Finally, we moved all the way back to the entrance.

About fifteen minutes later, we noticed that people who had come in after us were getting seated. We asked again and the hostess, who showed no indication that she had ever seen us before, seated us immediately. In the corner, just outside of the decorated dining room, with a lovely view of a large speaker.

I can't complain about the meal itself. The portions were small, but that's not a bad thing for New Year's Eve. We started with tuna carpaccio on top of a slice of beet and a few squares of seared tuna with horseradish and beet sauces. The second course was halibut in a salty broth. I thought the fish was bland, but the others at my table liked it. The main course was rack of lamb over flageolet beans and olives. Dessert was babas au rhum with citrus creme fraiche. Everything was good, although nothing really stood out.

The main problem I had was the price. $85, not even including wine or soft drinks, plus a 20% gratuity that they added to the bill. New Year's Eve dinners that I've been to in the past have always included extras to justify the cost -- decorations, music, champagne, etc. This was just plain dinner, but much more expensive than usual. The included gratuity just added insult to injury. Even though we usually tip 20%, we felt like it was one more way to milk us. We left feeling a little bitter that we had gotten so little value for our money, just because it was New Year's Eve. None of us will be back to Rialto.

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