Le Rendez-Vous Bistro is a very charming and tiny little BYO French restaurant (10 tables) that recently celebrated their 14th Anniversary. I have never heard of this restaurant before, since I am not familiar with Kenilworth. About 2 months ago, I noticed a post in another food forum that was raving about this restaurant, so Mrs. P & I decided to give it a try last month. Chef/owner Philippe Lievre is very sweet and talented. The night we went he was working the kitchen all by himself, where he makes almost everything from scratch. Below was the main menu that night. He also had a special 4 course tasting menu for $60.00, but we ate off of the ala carte menu.
We started off with a very flavorful Lobster Bisque soup that contained huge chunks of nicely seasoned crab meat (which I later found out that the chef very generously comped us). We did share a couple of glasses of some nice French red blends with him.
Next we had the Escargot a la Nicoise which was nice & light, and very different than the usual heavy creamy garlicky preparation. The escargot were very tender.
We also had the Salad Chevre which was very good and filled with big chunks of blue cheese. The goat cheese croustillant had a nice little crust to it.
Unfortunately, the chef sold out of the Rabbit entree on Saturday night. I was really looking forward to it. However, the Pan seared duck breast with the most incredible homemade coq au vin ravioli was a worthy replacement.
Mrs. P had the Plancha, which featured bites of 4 different types of fish, and really enjoyed it.
Unfortunately, we were too full for dessert, but they looked amazing, and are all made in house. You can see that Chef Philippe puts a lot of care and love into his cooking. I would highly recommend this restaurant, if you are in the vicinity. It was well worth the 45 minute drive for us. Just make sure to make reservations, especially on Friday or Saturday nights, since it is such a tiny restaurant. The restaurant is currently closed until the end of this week. The chef is vacationing in Colombia (where his wife is from). He hopes to get some inspiration for some French/Colombian fusion dishes for his upcoming Spring menu. We need to find a way to add this excellent restaurant into our very tight dining rotation.
Those pictures look delicious, thank you for sharing your experience and telling us of this restaurant. I’m not sure I will ever get there because when I’m in the area one of my favorite restaurants in NJ is
La Griglia. If you fine yourself in the area again I strongly recommend it. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Boulevard 572 in Kennilworth as well, but as I said the draw of La Griglia is too strong for me to resist.
La Griglia and Boulevard 572 look very good, but my wife & I only go to BYOs. I just can’t see spending an extra $100 on wine with the large markups. I don’t mind spending the extra money on food, if it is prepared well.
We had another excellent dinner at Le Rendez-Vous Saturday night. We shared the same Escargot Nicoise appetizer, along with a lump crabmeat & tuna tartare, with avocado & tomato salsa.
For entrees, I had an amazing sous vide pork tenderloin, with oyster mushrooms, a crispy potato galette, & a delicious jus.
Mrs. P had pan seared sous vide cod fish & Canadian mussels, with parsnip puree in a very flavorful sauce.
Looking good! I personally like the mussels in the shell to scoop up the juice and take it all down lol. Probably not the best table manners but hey… you’re only young once. I think the mussels at Spain in Newark are top notch! Give those a shot one day if you haven’t tried them.
Thanks Johnny. The mussels were actually presented in the shell, but my wife took them out of the shell, but she did eat them with a spoon to include the sauce. I wouldn’t worry about what other people think. Unless you are dining with your boss, go ahead and enjoy those mussels in the shell
I haven’t been to Spain in Newark, but our favorite mussel pot used to be at the old A Toute Heure, made with spicy chorizo sausage, in a saffron cream sauce. We used to get them extra spicy, and they came with nice crispy fries with aioli sauce.
We had another excellent dinner tonight. We started off with a very cool & refreshing watermelon & raspberry soup that was thickened with almond flour. It was perfect for a 92 degree day.
We also shared the lump crabmeat and tuna tartare with avocado-tomato salsa.
For entrees we both had the braised rabbit with mustard, vegetables, in a very hearty braising jus. This would be perfect for a cold winter day.
We had an excellent custom made 5 course tasting menu at Le Rendez-Vous Sunday night with some friends. I arrived before my friends, and went over my guests’ dietary restrictions with Chef Philippe, and he designed a tasting course based on those restrictions (i.e. one person was allergic to shrimp, and didn’t like fresh raw tomatoes, some guests wanted fish & others meat as a main course). He was very accomodating on such short notice.
We all started off with an excellent cold watermelon soup with almond flour to give it some thickness.
Next we all had a bacon wrapped date stuffed with blue cheese, and a perfectly seared scallop over a fresh caponata made with home grown eggplants and other vegetables from the Chef’s garden.
We then had a superb mini bouillabaisse with saffron. All but one contained shrimp among other fish. Restaurant Hunter did a very nice profile on Chef Philippe which included him making the bouillabaisse which normally contains 7 types of fish. This is the link to the 8 minute video in case you are interested: http://www.fios1news.com/newjersey/restaurant-hunter-le-rendez-vous-bistro-kenilworth#.W1sRNNIzqUn
For entrees Chef Philippe made tender pork tenderloin, lamb chop, and a zucchini blossom over an Israeli corn salsa for the meat eaters. He made black bass, branzino, red snapper, and a zucchini blossom over an Israeli corn salsa for the seafood eaters.
For dessert we had the flourless chocolate ganache cake with passion fruit ice cream. The picture is in my previous post.
It had been more than 10 years since we’d been to Le Rendez-Vous. When it opened 24 years ago owned by brothers Walid (foh) and Sammi (ec), we quickly became regulars. In 2004, Sammi sold LRV to current chef/owner Philippe who had been his chef de cuisine from the beginning. (Walid had split with Sammi and left some time before.) By then, though Philippe’s food was excellent, we had begun going there only occasionally. It eventually fell off our radar until @paryzer posted about his first dinner there earlier this year.
We finally made it back there yesterday and were rewarded with a delicious dinner. Starters: foie gras and figs for me, a tuna/crab duo for Mr. RBI. Main course: we both chose the rack of lamb with ratatouille. Dessert: Almond cake for me, ice cream for him. I haven’t uploaded my photos yet. When I do, I’ll post a link.
Thank you, Eli, for reminded us about this gem!
Roz, I’m so glad that you enjoyed your dinner at LRVB.
We actually have reservations there this Sunday. We are going to ask Chef Philippe to do a tasting dinner for us. I think he had a tasting dinner special during the week for $40.00. It is more on weekends.
We had another outstanding 5 course tasting dinner at Le Rendez-Vous Bistro Sunday night. It was well worth $60. Chef Phillipe’s wife Claudia mentioned that Roz ate there on Wednesday with her husband.
We started off with an excellent tuna tartare.
We also had an amazing mini pizza with fresh figs from the LRDV garden, brie-mozzarella, duck prosciutto, honey-lavender, and a mesclun salad.
Next we had the awesome mini bouillabaisse with black bass, branzino, red snapper, scallops, and saffron.
For entrees I had the filet mignon-hanger steak duo, with zucchini puree from the LRDV garden, plantain gnocchi, and chontaduro sauce. Chontaduro is a Colombian palm fruit that tastes like chestnut. Chef Philippe was nice enough to substitute shrimp for the hanger steak for Mrs. P.
For dessert we had the chocolate cake with passion fruit ice cream, and an almond flour sponge cake with Chantilly, fresh strawberries, and vanilla ice cream.
Below is a picture of tomatoes from Chef Philippe’s garden.
Cool. I used to live near Kenilworth, Westfield…etc.
Finally uploaded my photos on Flickr from our August 23rd dinner. Click here.
We had another outstanding tasting menu at Le Rendez-Vous. It is a real bargain at $55.00.
Very flavorful organic carrot and butternut squash soup with creme fraiche
Grilled octopus with avocado mousse, parmesan chips, and homegrown tomatoes bursting with flavor
Crispy pan seared skate wing with plantain gnocchi, in a lemon butter caper sauce.
I had the excellent venison and duck confit duo, while Mrs. P had the shrimp and scallop duo with a zucchini blossom
For dessert we both had the chocolate ganache cake with passion fruit ice cream. Pictures are in previous posts