Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Le Rendez-Vous - San Bernardino

Le Rendez-Vous Restaurant
4775 N. Sierra Way
San Bernardino
(909) 883-1231
Tue-Thur 5:30pm-9pm
Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm
Sun Brunch 11am-3pm  Dinner 3pm-9pm


   I must start by saying this was one of the most gratifying dining experiences of my life. Not only did I feel important and well taken care of, but my palette was blessed with every bite. Located in a residential neighborhood at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains, Le Rendez-Vous is anything but expected. The restaurant is fine dining, decorated in 1950's style fixtures, chairs, wallpaper and stained glass windows - not in a cool retro way, but it's as if this place hasn't had any cosmetic updates in  years. Luckily for them it has no effect on the masterpieces that exit the kitchen. Their staff is incredibly helpful and friendly. It's obvious that they really want the customers to enjoy every part of their meal. The menu is fairly small, but that ensures that the dishes they're serving are made with in-season, fresh ingredients and the kitchen can focus on making everything to the best of their abilities.

French Onion and House Salad
   The have two separate dining rooms and one of the rooms has a full bar. On Sunday's they serve brunch which I have yet to try, however I haven't heard anything positive about it. They still need to work on perfecting it. Their dinner on the other hand is been carefully crafted to pure genius. We started with Escargot Roquefort, garlic bread and Flambeed Spinach Salad, we followed with the Lamb and Veal Marsala and we ended with the Chocolate Bomb and Upside Down Walnut Cake.

Escargot Roquefort
   The Escargot is served out of the shell in a delicious garlic butter and topped with melted blue cheese. Yum, yum, yum. They serve sliced homemade french bread with butter and an olive tapenade. I truly feel the bread's only purpose is to sop up every last drop of buttery blue cheese goodness left in the Escargot dish. It was so good. If drinking butter in public wasn't inappropriate I would've gladly clogged my arteries for that stuff. The Spinach salad is served table side on a rolling cart with a single burner and saute pan for the staff to prepare it. They make a flambeed salad dressing with sherry, brandy, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar and bacon. The dressing is poured over spinach which wilts it slightly. The dressing was bold and salty, that combined with the bacon made one hell of a spinach salad. The entrees are served with either salad or soup. We chose french onion served with the the traditional gratin and a house salad with a mustard vinaigrette. The soup was well made and the broth tasted like it was home made. The salad was strangely impressive. It was literally the most delicious salad I have ever eaten. The dressing was divine and I couldn't help myself from getting every drop of it off of the plate. The entrees were brought out and I was very intrigued. On one large plate a tall rack of lamb with a balsamic reduction, a plump pile of mashed potatoes with a rosemary sprig and another pile of vegetables - zucchini, yellow squash and carrots. The other plate was ordained with the same potatoes and vegetables but with slices of veal topped with an appetizing mushroom Marsala sauce. The lamb was cooked at a perfect medium rare and the balsamic was the just the right amount of sweet to pair with the rustic lamb. The veal was tender and the sauce was pure perfection. The potatoes were good but only made great by mixing it with the Marsala sauce. However much I absolutely enjoyed the lamb and veal, I can't ignore the fact that the vegetables might have made the plate. How could squash and carrots really be that impressive? I have no idea how, but they were so perfectly crunchy yet tender and they had such a wonderful flavor. 
Lamb, Mashed Potatoes, Vegetables
Veal, Mashed Potatoes, Vegetables
   Now I don't necessarily order dessert because by that time I'm usually way too full, but after everything I had already tasted how could I pass up the opportunity to try more. The chocolate bomb was a chocolate ice cream-ish dome with a cherry center and covered in a chocolate shell. It was a beautiful combination of textures, depths of chocolate flavor and genuine cherry filling. The apple walnut cake was definitely the winner for me. The dessert of hot sweet apples that still retained their fresh crunch, with a crust that tasted like pecan pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to slowly melt was definitely deserving of a blue ribbon.
Chocolate Bomb and Apple Walnut Cake
   Once again San Bernardino has produced a surprising gem that I will find myself returning to, time after time. If you are looking for a meal that is impressive and memorable make this your first choice. Le Rendez-Vous is not just a restaurant but it is an experience. Wonderful customer service and an outstanding meal make Le Rendez-Vous one of my favorite dining experiences of all time and hopefully you can try them out and understand why.

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