The Prosciutto di Parma ($16) was excellent, beholding a soft stinky blue cheese, arugula, thinly shaved beets and walnuts.Off the bar menu we couldn't pass up some Crispy Fried Calamari ($7) with pepperoncini, lemon and olive oil.
I am so glad Bianca convinced us to order the Roasted Duck Sandwich ($12) loaded with Gruyère, gingered figs and hand cut fries. The fries are more like chips, but they are truly sensational, as is the sandwich. On the other hand, $12 was a pretty reasonable price for this sandwich, proving the bar menu extremely worth while if you're dining on a budget!
The chef sent out three complimentary side dishes. The first was Local Barley ($8) which I didn't care for - I guess I'm just not a huge barley fan?
However, I loved the Pan Seared Mushrooms ($8) flavored with herbs, shallots, white balsamic and served in the cutest mini cast iron cauldron.
I was also a fan of the Spring Vegetables ($8) which were cooked until tender in shallots and parsley.Rialto's pasta dishes are remarkable. They are offered in half portions, ideal for those of us who like to sample and share. The Lobster Bucatini ($16/$30) is made with green and red tomatoes and seasoned with chilis and saffron.
The Orecchiette ($15/$28) has greens, garlic scapes and housemade sausage. The pastas embrace a delicate elegance and both prove incredibly satisfying.
You will want to linger over dessert at Rialto, where pairing fresh seasonal fruits with expertly constructed pastries and a dusting of nuts are the main focus. The Rhubarb Rose Meringue ($12) with pistachio and strawberry-rhubarb sorbet was a flawless example.
Sfogliatelle ($12) was sent out with the chef's compliments. The raspberry mint sorbet and pine nut sauce was a refreshingly unique combination.
The Summer Fruit Crostata ($12) with brandied blackberries and a peach ice cream to finish off the trio was equally as exciting.
Rialto proved tonight why it continues to stand out among a crowd, whether you narrow it down to the Harvard Square scene, broaden the scope to include Cambridge and Boston dining alike, or look to the vast category of Hotel Restaurants and Bars nationwide. As with my lunch and cooking class last November, I will fondly remember this summer evening on the patio!