Lunch Box : Rillo’s
The tables are topped with white cloths, linen napkins, and heavy flatware. The lighting is subdued. The service is attentive. The ambiance is refined yet casual. A well-known local spot for dinner, Rillo’s is overlooked for lunch in favor of downtown eateries. Pity. The restaurant offers some of the better tasting lunches in Carlisle. With selections of soups, salads, small plates, sandwiches, entrees, and gluten-free pastas, there is something for almost every taste and appetite.
We passed on the soup of the day, a creamy broccoli bisque, and started with house salads ($3.95), mine with the “family secret” house dressing, my partner’s with blue cheese. The plates arrived stacked with fresh romaine, spinach, celery, onions, tomatoes and carrots. The “secret” dressing was revealed to be olive oil, cider vinegar and salt, in proportions that complemented the vegetables rather than overwhelm them. The blue cheese dressing had small chunks of mild cheese and was also pleasingly balanced. A basket of toasted garlic bread accompanied the salads.
Although one can have traditional Italian pastas for lunch, I opted for a lighter meal, selecting the Smoked Salmon and Pepper Trout ($12.50), and my partner the Bacon Cheddar Style Burger ($8.50).
Listed on the menu as a “small plate,” my fish selection was beautifully presented on a large dish. Rows of sliced smoked pepper trout were set next to a rosette of smoked salmon, small piles of capers and finely chopped red onion, and surrounded by several pieces of Tuscan toast points (thinly sliced and toasted Italian bread). The salmon, not too smoky but nicely salted, was an excellent counterpoint for the trout, which was flaky and gently flavored with black and white pepper. The horseradish sauce, a combination of horseradish, cream cheese, cayenne, and paprika topped with a dice of red and yellow pepper, provided a zesty accompaniment. A bite of a toast point spread with the sauce and topped with the fish, capers and onion awakened the palate with a panoply of flavors and textures—spicy and citrusy; fleshy and crisp.
The burger, which was ordered medium but arrived medium rare, was topped with caramelized onions and a citrus chipotle barbeque sauce, providing a mélange of flavors that didn’t override each other. Served on a grilled sesame seeded Kaiser roll, the burger was deliciously juicy. Burgers come with either fries, soup, or house salad.
For dessert, we shared the house made cannoli ($6.50). Thick crunchy shells outlined with chocolate ganache encased a vanilla and almond flavored dessert cream and were sprinkled with dark chocolate chips. Coffee rounded out the meal. Total price, before tip, was $38.06.
Rillo’s is open for lunch Tuesdays to Fridays, 11:30 AM to 2 PM. Parking is easy, either in front of the building or in the lower lot. Don’t pass it up.
Reviewed by RD | Febraury 2013