Some places are destined to have great burgers, some are not. Rialto was never meant to have a great burger. After all, Jody Adams is a woman of many culinary talents, but perfecting the classic American sandwich is probably not up her alley, at least that’s the conclusion I’ve come up with. I have to give credit to Rialto for at least trying to put their own spin on things, as you will not find the jaded version you see everywhere else these days; Vermont cheddar, out of season tomato, iceberg lettuce, repeat. At least it looks good on paper at Rialto; Buffalo Mozzarella, prosciutto and a Focaccia bun. But we’ve come across many “looks good on paper” burgers before, and remember the rule; don’t fall in love with it until you’ve taken a bite. (that’s what she said?)
But it all starts before that first bite, the burger is quite small, and in that un-Godly softball shape ala RFO’s. In other words it’s amateur hour in burger-land. A puffy in the middle patty can only mean one thing; the meat to bun ratio is a disaster, and the paltry burger barely fills up half of the bun. The meat is predictably over-cooked, as in not a trace of pink whatsoever. But there is some decent flavor in there, although hidden because it’s so over-cooked, the Angus beef has a pleasant beefiness to it with a touch of funk. I like the funk. Theoretically I like the addition of Prosciutto in a burger, oddly I don’t think I’ve ever had it included before. But pork products should always be crispy when joining the burger party. Sadly the prosciutto is warm and weird, feeling more like bad deli meat texturally, despite having good flavor.
The fresh mozzarella is rather bland, and un-melted. Again the chance to be different and one-of-a-kind is diminished by a lack of execution, not what you expect from a Top Chef. The sesame-crusted Focaccia bun is a warm and welcome inclusion, has great flavor and is clearly made in-house, but is much too big for this burger. The fries are odd, seasoned admirably, but a cross between a French Fry and a chip. They are inconsistent in flavor though, more fry and less chip would have been preferred. Overall, the meal feels like a proud dad trying to improve his usually basic back-yard burger. He’s been watching the Food Network non-stop and thinks the addition of Prosciutto, Mozzarella and a Focaccia bun will do the trick. That’s all well and good for dad, but it’s basically a major let-down for a Rialto menu item. I appreciate the intent to differentiate, but ultimately it just does not come together.
Overall Score: 74