It's opening day for Viale, which took over the old Rendezvous spot. Co-owner Greg Reeves previously revealed a lot of details about the new venture, which he described as "green-driven" and "Mediterranean-inspired."
Upon entering the restaurant, diners find themselves right in between the dining room and the bar area. The two are divided by a series of booths on the bar side and tables on the dining room side. To the front of the bar, close to the entryway, the bar area extends by way of a metal counter, and high-backed metal chairs allow extra space for diners to sit. The prime seating in the bar area is in front of the wall-to-wall windows that line the whole front of the restaurant, letting light stream in and providing optimal views of to goings-on on busy Massachusetts Avenue. A large mirror hangs in the bar area, reflecting the dining room as well as listing specials of the day.
The walls are crisp, white-painted brick, a nice contrast to the dark wooden chairs and banquettes, which are padded with cherry red cushions. On the wall opposite the bar, a large mural hangs with an design that looks like streets criss-crossing in hues of grays and light blues. The real eye-catchers of the restaurant are the brightly-colored works of art that hang throughout the restaurant. Bold reds, teals, and oranges stand out on the white walls.
To the back, there's a wall of coat hangers and a semi-open kitchen that has gleaming new dishes in view, ready for service. Standing at the kitchen and looking into the restaurant, diners will find their eyes drawn to the wall of windows at the front. Those windows also take up a good majority of the ceiling, allowing more light to pour in. Small industrial lights hang from the ceiling, giving the restaurant a soft glow but not overshadowing the natural light from the windows.
For now, the kitchen is open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday (except for Tuesday) and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and a late-night menu is available for an extra hour at the bar. The restaurant will be closed on Tuesdays for the first month. Sunday brunch could launch early next year.
Here's a look at the debut menu:
502 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139