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When one of the first stories told about a restaurant’s building includes Elton John, a stunning fireplace, and an offer of $100,000, your instincts would be correct in telling you that you must see this place. Georgetown recently welcomed Rialto, an authentic Italian restaurant, to the area. Rialto opened for dinner on September 26, and plans to open the rest of the menu within the next week or so.
With a quaint unassuming entrance, once inside, guests are warmly greeted by the intricate details and nuances that transport them into a Venetian atmosphere. Diners are given the opportunity to watch some behind the scenes work thanks to partially open kitchens. The upstairs features a gorgeous bar, and multiple seating areas. The downstairs, home to the fire place Elton John allegedly offered to purchase, is an exclusive dining area with a dress code. From grand fire places upstairs and downstairs, and green hanging glass lamps near the front windows, to the red velvet wall paper and clay oven imported from Italy, it becomes apparent that no small expense was spared to set the scene for Rialto’s equally lavish and romantic cuisine.
Rialto, the third creation by restauranteurs Ben Kirane, and Moe and Joe Idressi, was designed specifically to recreate the flavors and dishes found in Venice, Italy. Featuring a variety of authentic and contemporary dishes, patrons can expect fresh made pasta, imported specialty ingredients and fresh seafood. While there are several menu items to choose from, there are definitely a few that should make it to the top of your list including:
- The Salumi E Prosciutto is a nice little plate of charcuterie. Top quality cured meats including Prosciutto San Daniele, Toscana Con Pepe, and Brasaola is a great way to sample with your dining companions. The Salumi E Prosciutto includes Prosciutto San Daniele, but diners have the option to choose from Tartufato, Finocchiona, Sopressata Piccante, Herb Pancetta, and Coppa along with the Toscana Con Pepe and Brasaola to create their perfect appetizer.
- Once finished with the Salumi E Prosciutto, follow it up with the Frutti Di Mare. Another small plate that’s easy to share, the Frutti Di Mare is a seafood medley including muscles, calamari, shrimp, and fish in a light citrus vinaigrette.
- If you’re looking for a ravioli that is “…as authentic as America can get”, Rialto is THE place to get it. The Raviolo Ai Formaggi house made ravioli with sage butter is delicate, and is a dish that melts in your mouth leaving you wanting more. Which is ideal because you’re not even remotely done browsing the menu for your next course.
- Risotto Alla Milanese is perfect for those who want a little more substance and variety in their dish. Made with saffron, Dello-Russo sausage, asparagus, and tomato, each bite provides a medley of complimentary yet varying flavors. Although not considered a main course, it certainly could be if you’re not one for sharing.
- While all of the seafood is incredible and worth what you pay, the Coda Di Rospo really stood out. Although not the most eye-catching dish, the seared monkfish with olive and sun dried tomato butter was savory and lip-smacking good.
- For those of you who aren’t natives to Venice, this dish might be considered a little adventurous. The Seppia Alla Griglia, grilled cuttlefish in an ink sauce, is cooked to absolute perfection and void of any rubbery texture. The ink sauce is mild, and the color more dominating than the flavor. Someone in the Rialto kitchen certainly knows exactly what they’re doing. (Obviously.)
- The Agnello Scottadito is the perfect finishing course before desert. If you’re one who tends to gravitate toward lamb then let the gravity pull you in. The roasted rosemary crusted rack of lamb served with lentils, spinach, and fingerling potatoes is hearty, well rounded, and contains the only food groups that really matter.
- Once you’ve completed eating all that is possible, the Rialto Trio makes for a fantastic desert. Order it and share it with your dining companions. In fact, you might need to order two if you’re a chocaholic. The denseness of the Chocolate Salami and the 73% Cuveture Chocolate Terrine pair particularly well with the lighter Gianduja Semifreddo.
Rialto’s upscale traditional yet contemporary Italian cuisine and atmosphere is sure to impress. Visit on a date, or bring a group of friends! The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and ready to help you dine like you’re in Venice.
2915 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20007
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