In the land of burgers, the bacon cheeseburger is king, and while two bacon cheeseburgers can be two very different experiences, the truth of the matter is that it's the standard burger offering. Since I joined Burger Boy on his quest this past October, I've certainly had my fair share of bacon cheeseburgers. As much as I appreciate the classic, I sometimes find myself begging for someone to do something other than a bacon cheeseburger on brioche. I know it's just a burger, but I'd love to see some risks taken to change up the game a little bit and to make things exciting. I was psyched that this week's burger offered something different on their menu.
Rialto is a dimly lit swanky spot hidden in a corner of The Charles Hotel in Harvard Square and is run by celebrity chef Jody Adams. I found the atmosphere to be friendly and the staff to be polite, hospitable and welcoming. At Rialto, the burger ($15) itself is a tall, thick patty that arrives on a long, oblong white plate, neatly piled high on top of a puddle of orangey-red pepper sauce, disks of fresh mozzarella, and paper thin pieces of prosciutto laid on top. The bun is pale and soft, sprinkled with sesame seeds and lightly toasted, tasting somewhat reminiscent of a buttermilk biscuit but with the texture of soft sourdough bread. It looked bland but was quite tasty and thick enough to support such a massive burger. My only gripe with it was that it was way too wide for such a tall burger patty and it was a little difficult to eat due to its size.
While I welcomed the change of pace and thought that the combinations of flavor worked well, I also thought there were some missed opportunities for texture that would have really made this burger shine. I couldn't help but be disappointed that the cheese wasn't melted, instead it was just placed on top and the prosciutto seemed to get lost. Had the cheese been melted and the prosciutto crisped, I think I would have enjoyed it much more. In addition, I think that the meat could have been seasoned a little more heavily, but it did have a deliciously inviting and buttery soft feel to it.
The fries were another surprise, they were so crispy and thin with deep ripples running through, they were almost more of a potato chip than a french fry. They were seasoned well and dotted with pickled jalapeño peppers. While I would have preferred something resembling more of a french fry, it was still a nice change up from the same-old stuff. In sum, while I appreciated the change of pace, I think that this burger was just shy of being something special.