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The Basics: Rialto restaurant information

Rialto

1 Bennett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-661-5050

Rialto restaurant information
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From Rialto’s perch inside the Charles Hotel, overlooking Harvard Square, chef Jody Adams serves a menu that’s a living record of her passionate relationship with Italy – each dish a reflection of her travels up and down the country, her long-standing friendships with purveyors, and her study of regional traditions.

The dining room, redesigned in 2007, features a white stone path, inspired by an ancient Roman road, that leads diners past an onyx bar into the dining room, where curved banquettes and cozy nooks create an intimate dining experience. Pumpkin, olive and white draperies evoke the warm colors of the Italian countryside.

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1 Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
617-661-5050

Jody Adams

Chef at Rialto

Chef Jody Adams at Rialto

The connection between food and happiness began at an early age for Chef Jody Adams. Her mother was an adventurous cook and passed along an appreciation for European cooking, and, more importantly, European living. When she graduated from Brown University with a degree in anthropology, Adams took her first culinary position as part-time help to Nancy Verde Barr, a food writer and teacher. During her apprenticeship, she assisted in the classroom and helped test recipes for Nancy's cookbook on Italian immigrant cooking, We Called It Macaroni.

After deciding on a career in the restaurant business, Adams worked her way through the ranks of Boston's best restaurants. She began as a line cook at Seasons restaurant in the famed Bostonian Hotel under chef Lydia Shire in 1983. Three years later, she helped open Hamersley's Bistro with Gordon Hamersley as his Sous Chef.

In 1990, she took the Executive Chef position at Michela's in Cambridge. While at Michela's, she developed her reputation for carefully-researched regional menus that combined New England ingredients with Italian culinary traditions.

In September 1994, Adams opened Rialto. Four months after the new restaurant's opening, The Boston Globe awarded Rialto four stars, the newspaper's highest rating, proclaiming that, "eating Jody Adams' food at the stunning new Rialto is like stepping into a winter greenhouse just at the moment a spectacular hothouse orchid burst into bloom, filling the senses."

In addition to running Rialto, Adams published her first cookbook in 2002, In the Hands of a Chef: Cooking with Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant. She co-wrote the book with her husband, Ken Rivard. It is a collection of recipes that follows her passions and palate as she cooks for family and friends and encourages cooks to spend time in the kitchen.

In 2007, Rialto was renovated from floor to ceiling. The new space and menu are a living record of Adams' passionate relationship with Italy. Each dish is a reflection of her travels up and down the country, her long-standing friendships with purveyors, and her study of regional traditions.  A white stone path inspired by an ancient Roman road leads diners past an onyx bar illuminated from below into the dining room, where s-shaped banquettes and cozy nooks create an intimate dining experience. Pumpkin, olive and white draperies evoke the warm colors of the Italian countryside, with inviting banquettes of gold and sage mohair.

Adams is married to Ken Rivard and has two children, Oliver and Roxanne.

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Dictionary
 
Agrodolce
1. noun Italian sweet and sour sauce.
Beignet
1. noun A sweet or savory fritter from New Orleans.
Brandade
1. noun A pounded combination of salted or smoked fish, olive oil, garlic, milk and cream.
Carpaccio
1. noun Wafer-thin slices of raw beef served cold; named after the Renaissance Venetian painter.
Cassoulet
1. noun A slow-cooked marriage of white beans and assorted meats such as pork, duck or goose.
Choucroute
1. noun French-style sauerkraut, cooked with goose fat, onions, white wine, and juniper berries or caraway seeds.
Compote
1. noun Slow-cooked fruit in syrup.
Confit
1. noun Meat (usually goose, duck or pork) that is slowly cooked in its own fat and preserved with the fat packed around it as a seal.
Crostini
1. noun The Italian word for "little toasts" (referring to bread, not grappa).
Farro
1. noun Tuscany's mainstay, a small, light brown grain.
Florentine
1. noun A cookie of nougatine and candied fruit brushed with a layer of chocolate.
Jus
1. noun French for juice, jus also refers to the unthickened juices from a piece of roasted meat.
Mascarpone
1. noun Ultra-rich, soft cheese known best for its role in tiramisu.
Pancetta
1. noun Cured Italian bacon.
Panna cotta
1. noun Egg-less Italian custard.
Pesto
1. noun An Italian sauce traditionally made with basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and Romano and Parmesan cheeses.
Porcini
1. noun Smoky, meaty wild mushrooms.
Ragoût
1. noun A thick, seasoned stew of meat or fish, sometimes with vegetables.
Rémoulade
1. noun A cold mayonnaise sauce flavored with mustard, gherkins, capers, anchovies and herbs.
Rösti
1. noun Refers to a Swiss potato dish, similar to some types of home fries, where shredded potatoes are sautéed on both sides until browned.
Rouille
1. noun The French word for "rust" describes the color of this spicy sauce made of hot chiles, garlic, breadcrumbs and olive oil and generally diluted with fish stock.
Tapas
1. noun Appetizers in Spain; trendy nibbles in the U.S.A.
Tempura
1. noun Batter-dipped, deep-fried fish, poultry or vegetables.
Terrine
1. noun An earthenware container, or the dish cooked therein.
Verbena
1. noun A lemon-flavored South American herb.

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