Vialè, Cambridge (Central Square)

Vialè took over the old Rendezvous space in Central Square, and while I – like many of you – mourn the passing of Rendezvous, Vialè is a reasonable replacement, without quite achieving the high level of Rendezvous. We’ve eaten there several times, because of their proximity to the Central Square Theater (and the 10% discount on food they offer if you have theater tickets). The current menu is small (I seem to remember a larger one last year and before): 5 or 6 flat breads, pastas, main courses, side dishes, etc. (5 or 6 of each category, I hasten to add), usually well-executed. I’ve had perfectly done scallops there, for example, and my wife a perfectly cooked rare strip steak. What’s a little odd, though, is that their menu will often list the same items, described the same way, but presented differently on different occasions. The steak might be sliced on one occasion, and fanned over a bed of potatoes and mushrooms, then presented whole on another, with the potatoes and mushrooms on the side.

Speaking of side, their side of fried cauliflower on a recent night was beautifully bronzed, and they had timed their roasted broccoli rabe to the precise point where a few seconds more would have resulted in it being unpleasantly burnt. They consistently do a good job with seafood: both blue cod and salmon were beautifully done recently (to my taste – I like my fish “rare” and custardy, not flaky), and the cod sat on a bed of “wild mushrooms” interspersed among which, like little gifts, were morels.


Morels! What a perfect gift to find on your plate.


We’ve been to Viale a few times and enjoyed it quite a bit. The arancini are really good. I had a braised rabbit pasta dish a few months back that was really delicious. We never made it to Rendezvous, but enjoy having Viale nearby. It looks like the change the menu up quite often, which can be disappointing if you’re looking for a favorite, but certainly helps with boredom. I keep forgetting to give them a try for brunch.