This take-home meal from R I Restaurant includes salmon, risotto and roasted carrots. Photo: Wini Moranville
Writer: Wini Moranville
After opening last autumn, R I Restaurant was applauded by dsm contributor Karla Walsh for its artfully plated food that calls on “the season’s best ingredients and sprinkles in a little of molecular gastronomy and a lot of texture.”
I was planning to take it all in myself, but the winter got away from me. And then—well, you know what happened. So a couple of weeks ago when the Windsor Heights venue debuted R I to Go, a new takeout service, I wasted no time in placing an order.
Of course, molecular gastronomy loses something when transported across town in to-go containers. Wisely, chef Jacob Demars takes a different approach with his to-go service.“I love doing tasting menus and fine-dining—tweezer food and all that,” Demars says. “But for R I to Go, I’ve been falling towards a much more rustic approach.”
Hence, among the carry-out options (which will change every week or two), you won’t find molecular-gastronomy-inspired entrees such as a “scallop sweet pea vichyssoise, couscous, seared chorizo, tarragon foam.” Nor will you snag five- or 10-course tasting menus. You’ll have to head inside to the dining room, which is open, for that style of food.
Yet while the meal I recently brought home from R I was entirely foam-less, it was highly gratifying. The rich pesto-arugula risotto, made salty with bacon and bright with arugula pesto and black pepper, was speckled with bits of freshly picked and shelled sweet peas. Also pleasurable was the cast-iron-seared salmon, served on a bed of farro (a delightfully chewy and nutty grain native to Italy) studded with candied walnuts.
More good news: For those of you who are tired of takeout, but not ready to dine inside a restaurant, look for R I’s patio menu, which will debut in a few weeks (after the patio arrives). Demars plans to serve a menu slanted toward the casual seaside New England fare he grew up with in Rockport, Massachusetts: clams, lobster rolls and the like.
R I to Go is available Thursday through Saturday. Keep up with R I Restaurant on the R I Restaurant website.