Sunday, October 9, 2011

Le Rendez-Vous Restaurant

I have heard about Le Rendez-Vous, 
a French restaurant located at 4775 N. Sierra Way in San Bernardino (phone: 909-883-1231), for years, but I had never been there until recently when Judy got a Groupon for it. 
I was more than pleasantly surprised at what a wonderful dinner we had. Many reviews on Yelp indicated that the service was slow, but we got there early, about 5:45, and had our courses coming in pretty much right after each other, and we were very pleased with how the evening went. We initially got some sliced French bread, butter and olive tapenade, with both black and green olives. 
When we finished the tapenade we were offered more, but declined, to save room for the rest of the meal. We got two appetizers, both of which were marvelous. First was escargot Roquefort, 
six snails baked with Roquefort blue cheese. The snails were cooked out of the shells in a round plate with holes, similar to what our snails were served to us in on our Princess cruise. There were six snails smothered in butter with blue cheese and it was absolutely divine. 
When the snails were eaten we had left over butter which we dipped our bread into and polished off. 
In short order, our waiter wheeled in a cart with a skillet and a large bowl with raw spinach to create spinach salad flambee. He added ingredients to the skillet I don't recall, including bacon, then toward the end added a mixture of brandy and cognac which created a large flame which burns off the alcohol. The cooked ingredients were added to the spinach, tossed, then served to us. I was surprised that the spinach still retained its fresh, raw texture, but the sweet warm liquid and smoky bacon bits melded with it to make a delicious salad. 
Next, I got French onion soup. I opted not to get a cheese cap on it, in order to save some calories, and regretted it. I love French onion soup, but this was average. 
It is usually the cheese that makes it, so I din't really give it a good chance.  Judy got a vichyssoise, a cold vegetable soup. She won. It was whitish in color and had a nice vegetable soup taste. For my main course, I ordered le carre d'agneaux aux herebes, or roasted rack of lamb. 
I ordered it on the rare side of medium rare and the meat was cooked perfectly. It was covered in some sort of reduced vinegar that was okay, I didn't love it. I would have preferred a sweeter sauce, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the dish.  It came with mashed potatoes that were okay and fresh cooked vegetables that were fantastic. They were nicely spiced and softened up, but still retained a little crunch. If I could get them to double the vegetables and forget the mashed potatoes, I would. Judy got a filet mignon with a creamy tarragon sauce. 
The filet cut like butter and the tarragon sauce added wonderfully to the flavor of the meat. She won again, which is surprising to me because I almost always prefer lamb to beef. This time it was not that the lamb was not good, it was, but that the beef was tremendous. Finally, we were full, but just had to get  the flambeed crepe surprise, a crepe filled with nutella and topped with sliced almonds, strawberries and some sort of warm, sweet, delicious sauce. The waiter wheeled the cart to our table again, fired up a skillet, then used the brandy/cognac mixture to again ignite the pan with flames and light up the room. The sweet warm mixture was added to the crepes and served. This dish capped the night. We were full, but we struggled to eat every bite. The almonds added some nice crunch, the strawberries were cool and juicy. The crepe was soft and filled with warm nutella, which soaked up the warm, sweet mixture which had a base that consisted of copious amounts of butter. 
This was not a Weight Watcher dessert. Not even close. It is a dessert I have dreamed about since. The dessert was worth it all by itself. Add it to the fantastic snails and spinach salad and good lamb, and it was a night to relish. As we left that night, we wondered aloud if we could come again just for dessert. 

5 comments:

  1. I pass this place everyday on the way home from work. We went there a few years ago thinking we would try something different and were not impressed. Service was slow and the decor seemed really dated. Food was ok, but not great. The one thing that I did like was the onion soup, but that was about it.

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  2. Oh, John, John, John. Did you try the snails? The filet mignon? The crepes? This place is an institution (yeah, somewhat dated decor) and the best French restaurant in the Valley. Bob, how about we start saving up calories now for our anniversary in 2012?

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  3. MMMM Looks delicious.

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  4. John's problem is that he doesn't appreciate sauces on his meat. He also wouldn't be willing to order anything with brandy and congac (or any kind of alcohol) in the sauce, regardless of whether or not they lit it on fire... I do remember being really ho hum on it too.

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  5. Well Denise, I think that probably explains a lot of it. The stuff we really liked was the stuff that John doesn't eat. Different tastes for different folks. I guess that's why there is such a diversity of restaurants.

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