[by naveen]

For my first Restaurant Week experience, I went to Rialto with a group of six fellow graduate students. To prep for the meal, I looked through Jody Adam's cookbook at the Harvard Coop to try to understand her culinary viewpoint. Like many chefs, she has an ingredients-driven philosophy that was inspired by time in Europe. She now tries to combine traditional Old World recipes with New England ingredients in a process that she compares to jazz, which I thought was an interesting analogy. However, a lot of chefs have similar viewpoints, so I'm still trying to figure out her "elevator speech."

Here's my review of the meal, which reviews as much or more about my personal biases than the food itself:
  • Bread with olive oil and salt: Excellent. I wonder wonder where they get their bread from. It's just as good as the bread from the Clear Flour bakery.
  • Hearty greens…caciotta cheese, walnuts, balsamic: The dressing seemed a bit overpowering, which was surprsing, considering the emphasis on ingredients in Jody's cooking. To me, hearty greens brings forth images of pots of sauteed kale or chard, like at Garden at the Cellar, so this wasn't quite what I expected.
  • 3 big spicy sweet potato ravioli…sage, brown butter, blood orange: My favorite course of the meal - the sweet potato was clearly the star in this dish. There were also some greens and sun-dried tomato to offer a nice contrast to the pasta. I would have a difficult time replicating this dish at home, which is one of the reasons to dine out.
  • Chocolate espresso torta…walnuts, bourbon cream: I couldn't resist the chocolate, especially with the addition of espresso. It was quite good and possibly one of the most calorically-dense things that I've ever eaten. The bourbon cream partially provided a much-needed counter-point, along with some mint leaves.
If anyone else has dined at the Rialto, I would love to hear their thoughts.

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