Rendezvous is a casual yet upscale restaurant that opened in Central Square in November of 2005. Along with places like Craigie on Main, Mariposa Bakery, Salts, and Central Bottle, it is really transforming this little corner of Central Square into a dining destination. Funny thing is, it took over a space that was previously occupied by a Burger King. Of course, they completely re-did the insides, but I still chuckle sometimes when I walk by because it still reminds me of Burger King.
Bryan tried the restaurant right when it first opened in 2005 with his good friend Peter. They both did not like it, citing over-sauced dishes and uncreative flavors. Because of that first negative experience, it was hard for me to convince Bryan to go back there, even though I had never tried it.
Finally, right before Christmas last year, Bryan relented and agreed to go try it again. We had consistently heard and read good reviews from all over. Even Peter had gone back and spoke highly of it. Clearly, something had changed for the better.
So, on a cold winter night in December, we walked down Mass Ave. all the way to Rendezvous (10 min exactly) and landed a seat without much of a wait.
Nantucket bay scallops with citrus slices
Nantucket scallops are sweet and their season is short. Rendezvous changes their menu often to reflect ingredients that are currently in season. These scallops were fresh and delicious, and matched the citrus nicely.
Potato gnocchi with braised beef cheeks, green peppercorns, spinach and breadcrumbs
Bryan ordered the beef cheeks as his appetizer. Deep, rich flavors that come from a stock that has simmered for hours. The gnocchi itself was soft and mushy. Not my favorite kind of texture (I like them chewy) – though I might be in a minority here. The breadcrumbs did give it a nice crunch.
These were only OK. Honestly, I remember thinking these cakes would have tasted better had they been made out of crab. Not too interesting, but not bad either.
Gascon-Style Duck 3 Ways (seared breast, confit leg and garlic sausage)
The duck was cooked perfectly, but I think Bryan just didn’t love the flavors. Rendezvous says that their cooking is inspired by “the flavors and aromas of the western Mediterranean — Italy, France, Spain and North Africa.” I’m not sure how much Bryan likes North African food, so it’s possible he just was not used to some of the spices.
All in all, the food is decent. It wasn’t our favorite place, so we probably will not be going back any time soon especially when places like Craigie on Main and Salts (both of which we love) are just around the corner and are priced similarly. Nevertheless, it’s worth trying. And who knows? You may just agree with everyone else who thinks that the food is amazing here.
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