PSA: avoid Rendevous
For all of you thinking about going to Rendevous in Central Square (Cambridge), turn the corner and walk up the street to Green Street--you'll thank us.
For all of you that choose to go to Rendevous--we're sorry.
We're in the business: he does wine, she does food. We eat out a lot. This dinner was one of the more disappointing ones we can remember. Here are the highlights/warnings.
Drinks: The cocktails were barely shaken. The wine list was boring.
Salad: We had the "shaved" asparagus which was not at all shaved, and served swimming in salad dressing.
Appetizer: We had the braised pork belly which was "fine"--not a ringing endorsement. We also tried the gnocchi with lobster. Although the gnocchi wasn't rubbery, the cook must have forgotten the salt, and never learned how to shape that style of pasta.
Entree: We split the Summer Vegetable Pot Pie. Carrots, parsnips, onions, BRUSSELS SPROUTS, and peas. We double-checked to make sure the menu really said summer. Recent articles on the restaurant said the chef shops at the local Monday farmer's market or uses local farms for as much produce as possible. Having been to that farmer's market I can assure you that none of the "summer" vegetables were purchased there.
Dessert: Perhaps it would have redeemed the meal, but we were too dissapointed to gamble anymore of our money on the possibility of one decent course.
A final word: Salt. They will bring you a lovely dish of salt to sprinkle on your food. Unfortunately the kitchen does not have access to this supply--everything was completely lacking in salt.
Is this even serious? Did you just make an account to make strange remarks about this place? Are you suggesting that the brussels sprouts were frozen or otherwise preserved? If vegetables grow in the summertime, they are summer vegetables.
I've never been given a dish of salt, and I've been going there pretty much since it opened. They don't even give you salt to put on the butter with your bread.
Salting is always rather aggressive and Rendezvous, just as I like it.
Boy, everyone's awfully defensive about this restaurant. As far as summer vegetables go, I'd be pretty surprised if I had parsnips and brussels sprouts in something termed "summer". Those say Thanksgiving to me. The Smiths may not be regulars and they seemed a ilttle excessive in their damning, but they're allowed to not like their meal. "What difference does it make" (if they're indeeed referencing *that* Smiths).
I have never had a bad meal at Rendezvous. Not sure, but I think it is one of my listed top five. I may have had a bad pour of wine by a distracted bartender - once. But that is it, otherwise the food has always been over the top delicious and the service fantastic. I too am in the food business and have a pretty good palate. Seasoning has always been thoughtful, balanced and nuanced. I cannot disagree with OP more on this - Rendezvous is one of the brightest lights to shine on the culinary scene.
re: Small Plates
Like any good book, I enjoy reading this site and rarely feel a need to comment.
I must say that Stephen Johnson has only equal in this town. I have never had a bad meal from any of his kitchens. He could not be kinder or more capable.
It is possible the op had an off meal but there is no way that is indicative of what generally comes out of this kitchen.I have eaten several times at Rendezvous and enjoyed all of them as did my guests.
As for quality of product, Stephen is such a perfectionist and passionate chef, I am puzzled how any sub par ingredients made it on to a dish emanating from his kitchen...just puzzled.
Not commenting on the quality of the food or anything, but the person who runs the kitchen at there is not Steve Johnson (he's almost always at the front of the house) but Deepak Kaul who had previously cooked under Traci de Jardin at Jardiniere before opening Rendezvous. If you've loved the food at Rendezvous, it's to Deepak's credit.
I am taken aback by this review. Perhaps Rendevous had an off night. It happens. But the commentary just puzzles me. I make superb gnocchi, but have never spent much time shaping them. The wine list may be be not to "thesmiths" liking, but it is anything but boring.
Just totally perplexed.
So, thesmiths, where have you been to lately that you like? Any positive reviews to contribute, and help other Hounds understand what sort of places you favor? An adamant negative review in a vacuum of other commentary isn't especially helpful.
I don't think it's great, but I've always had a good meal at Rendezvous. Fish has been very good twice.