Finally! 10,000 Open Table points and $100 to any participating restaurant. After much deliberation Matt & I decided on Rialto, Jody Adams’ restaurant in the Charles Hotel. Mixing Sicilian inspired dishes with New England’s local ingredients, Adams’ menu offers seasonal bites, pasta dishes, veggie options, and enough meat to please every carnivore.

Bread: A metal basket with peach paper held three types of bread and came with a side dish of herb infused EVOO and a small pile of course salt. The quality of bread was excellent; the roll was hearty and filling, the focaccia herbed and flavorful, and the fennel bread sticks tasted like my dad’s tarralli, yum!

Menu: First, Second, Third, Sides. The first two sections offered appetizer sized plates of salad, soups, fish, meats etc. I appreciate the Second category offering a half or whole size of pasta dishes. Often when menus have a Sides section, especially in a fine-dining establishment, it means the entrées come without any accompaniments. Thankfully that wasn’t the case here because the polenta that came with the Pork entrée was driving my decision.

Pumpkin Soup – truffle honey, lemon-thyme, parmesan cream
I could have had an entire pot of this soup! It was light, silky, and smooth without being watery or oily. The cream on the edge of the bowl added great flavor to each bite. Not much else I can say except that it was fantastic.

Grilled Pork Rack – milk braised belly, buckwheat polenta, mushrooms, black kale, capers
I do love pork but the polenta was the real reason I ordered this entrée. The pork itself was well cooked, juicy and not dry, but the sides really stole the show. I’ve never had buckwheat polenta and I wish to never have regular polenta again as this was so much better – creamy but hearty consistency and great wheat flavor. I dug right in to the circular item without remembering what it was, but didn’t care after the first bite even though I knew it’d end up being something creepy. Fried to a thin crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, I ate about ½ before the waiter informed me it was pork belly. Creepy and delicious.

Bathroom: I can’t fully judge the restroom as it is part of the Charles Hotel and not exclusive to Rialto diners, but I love the warm earth tones, shutter stall doors, and automatic soap and water dispensers.

Service: Our waiter was a pro, was able to answer all questions, and knew the menu inside and out. Everything was served on time, without being rushed. I made a note in the OpenTable reservation that we were celebrating our birthdays, and since we were too full to order a dessert, we received a couple snowball cookies with a Happy Birthday note!

Overall: When experiencing a fine-dining restaurant – which isn’t too often fo rme – I expect a unique atmosphere, great service, and exquisite food. Rialto exceeded my expectations as it was classy without being to stuffy; I felt like I belonged even though normally I couldn’t afford to even look at the menu. Starters run $13-$18, and entrees $25-$43, most of which are in the $30+ range. It’s a pricey commitment but totally worth it.

The Perfect Bite: It’s between the pumpkin soup and pork belly with buckwheat polenta – don’t make me choose!



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