Not a shabby way to end the work week with RW dinner at Rialto.
My appetizer: white gazpacho with almonds, crab, preserved lemon. A very fragrant dish, though I didn’t get much inkling of the lemon.
A’s app: beets three ways.
Main course: Grilled bluefish with pomegranate glaze, grilled eggplant, yogurt-cucumber sauce, a dollop of mashed potato and serving of sauteed spinach. I ordered this dish b/c I’ve never tried bluefish. Turns out it’s fatty, silky, and fishy like salmon, and went well with the yogurt sauce (of which I could have used more). I did wish that the sides were more inspired.
A’s main, the pan roasted chicken, was fantastic. The chicken was moist and seasoned well and paired beautifully with a surprise ingredient: dates. The candy-like sweetness of the dates, arguably too cloying on its own, proved to be a successful counter to the robustly spiced chicken. Just a well-executed, earthy dish, both comforting and sophisticated.
A’s dessert: Frozen cassata with pistachio croquant and vanilla mousse. Cassata is a traditional Italian layered cake. The top layer of this one was some kind of frozen cream (ice cream, maybe?).
My chocolate expresso torte, to go with the coffee we ordered. I don’t mind rich desserts — they give me the chance to savor the sweetness more slowly: in more respectably-sized bites than I might take other desserts :). Good gelato also falls in this “savor me slowly or die” category. Alas, I was only able to finish half of the torte before calling it quits.
I do wonder if Restaurant Week is all that it’s cracked up to be. I’ve heard that RW is a drag for chefs because they don’t get to cook what they really want to. Some restaurants work better with the price and patron considerations better than others, but I noticed that Rialto already has a $40 prix fixe menu in place, which makes their participation in RW almost superfluous. With one drink, a RW dinner easily costs $50+. If you are committed to spending $+50, does it then make sense to spend 10-20% more and eat from the restaurant’s non-RW offerings? I would think so, if I knew that significantly more passion and care went into making the non-RW food and probably translates into the quality of the final product. I enjoyed my meal but I’m thinking more about the philosophy behind RW and whether I’m being conned in some way by the hoopla surrounding it. Curious to hear what you think!