nadeau from the boston phoenix (not the most reliable source, since i believe he also adored the nightingale in the south end) raved about steve johnson’s newest venture, the rendezvous. it apparently opened in november; it’s in central sq; and it “offers Western Mediterranean inspired cuisine”. johnson was the chef/co-owner of the blue room.
enough with the facts, andy, patty, and i checked it out a week or so ago, and had some good eats. andy and i were disappointed the garlic soup wasn’t on that evening, but we both started with the “Celery root salad w/apple, goat cheese, pomegranate & green peppercorn vinaigrette”. a bit dry, but enjoyable. andy had the “Moroccan-style lamb tagine w/dates, almonds and flagelolets” which he quite liked; patty also liked her escarole salad and “Potato gnocchi w/braised oxtail”. i had the “Homemade cannelloni w/cavalo nero, foraged mushrooms, ricotta & sage”. as with my salad, i found the cannelloni, while nicely prepared and thought out, to be just a tad bit underpresent, by which i mean that it wasn’t bland, but the level of emphatic, savory tastiness was lower than it should’ve been. maybe a bit more vinaigrette in the case of the former and a bit more salt for the latter would have rectified this.
the desserts turned out to be the highlight. much as i like creme brulee, i’m fairly bored of the various flavors in different restaurants (in their case vanilla), so we opted instead for “Apple crostada w/red grapes & honey-lavender ice cream” and “Warm chocolate-hazelnut cake w/cinnamon cream”. the latter was particularly memorable. it seems hard to find noteworthy desserts in general, but both of these were palpable hits.
in cambridge’s (particularly central square’s) otherwise mostly food-barren landscape, rendezvous is a nice addition. service was acceptable; decor (it was a burger king before) is a bit undefined and hopefully transitional: it’s too spartan to be as homey as its lighting and color would seem to want to suggest. in any case, will def. will be going back; we’ll have to see how it shapes up over time.