I was going to come to this place a couple of weeks ago but I made a big mistake and went do Copacabana instead. I made my way into a mostly empty parking lot a bit after 2:30. They serve lunch until 5pm, so there was no concern of the dreaded 2:30 or 3pm cutoff.
I walked in at the same time as 2 regulars, so I "assume" thats why nobody greeted me at the door. The 2 dudes just sat at a booth and I did the same; a menu was provided in short order.
Rendez Vous Bakery & Bistro Interior
I've sat in the booths every time I've been here. They have a nice little room in the back but I've never seen anyone in there.
Rendez Vous Bakery & Bistro Rear Seating
They brought the specials signs down to my booth and put it right in front of me, which is a good idea. The fancy handwriting made it difficult to read; I still don't know what the bottom item is. Something pork. I wasn't ordering pork so no need to ask.
I didn't want a sandwich; I thought that "Lamb Navarin' was lamb stew with root vegetables, but I asked before I ordered it to make sure. I was correct, so I ordered that with an iced tea.
The tea came out without a straw, so I had to wait a few minutes before I could drink.
Rendez Vous Iced Tea
Music is pretty good here: Toto's "Hold the Line", Survivor and some old Elton John. One of the waitresses was chatting about restaurants with the 2 dudes; I always have to hold my tongue during such things; she was complaining about how expensive Houston's is, which is true, but also that she loved the Rusty Hook Tavern. Really, so $17 for a bahn mi sandwich isn't expensive? At least Houston's is a nice, comfortable restaurant.
While I was waiting it hit me that I'm having lunch in a bakery and there's no bread service. Most bakeries give you a little sample of something.
Rendez Vous Bakery & Bistro Inside
The stew came out in 15 minutes.
Rendez Vous Lunch Lamb Navarin
This was a bigger haul than I expected, of course leafy salads are always good to fill a plate. I was expecting more vegetables in the stew; this was mostly meat. I guess that's better than too little meat.
Rendex Vous Lunch Lamb Navarin
There were 2 carrot slices and 2 mushroom pieces in the stew, which is a pretty strange variation on this dish. The meat didn't taste like lamb; maybe it was beef. The gravy was very savory and the meat was braised well enough. The stew was good even if I didn't get any turnip.
The "au gratin" potatoes where mostly cooked in butter. Not much cheese or cream.
Rendez Vous Potaoes Au Gratin
These were pretty much just potatoes in butter, and there's nothing bad tasting about that. The salad, however, was completely dry. No dressing at all. I can't eat plain weeds. Next time a server passed by I asked for some dressing. The dressing was absurdly thick, like a paste. I was hoping for a something that flowed a bit better.
Rendez Vous Salad Dressing
For dinner they go more formal with black tablecloths, or I guess if you eat a late lunch. Not sure if they put a tablecloth on the booths.
Rendez Vous Bakery & Bistro Dinner Tablecloths
Just when I was thinking this place wasn't so bad, I got my check.
Rendez Vous Cafe Original Check
Ho-hum, another $20 lunch in Fort Lauderdale. I thought about it, and I didn't remember the Lamb Navarin being $15.95. I pulled up the picture on my phone and saw that it was $12.50. That's a pretty serious mistake! When she came back to pick up the check I mentioned that the sign said that the food was $12.50. "What did they do?" she said coyly with a hint of good cop, bad cop. When she brought back my card and the receipt she proudly said that the manager took care of it, as if they were doing me a favor by charging me the correct price.
The first time I came here for breakfast I thought it was great. I think it still could be pretty good, but I find it difficult to believe that I was overcharged by accident. Do they really serve mixed greens with no dressing? A lot of questions remain.
They're using one of my pictures on their website but don't have the review in their "Review" section. Things are funny that way.
Rendez-Vous Fort Lauderdale
I hadn't been to Rendez Vous in over 2 years; one of the issues with restaurant reviews is that places change; they raise prices, they hire new people, and they change ownership. I don't know what happened here, but I need to apologize to those who've found their way to this place based on my previous review.
I was on my way somewhere and decided to grab breakfast; I was right by Over Easy Cafe, but the place was crowded and I didn't want to rub elbows with the type of folk who go there, so I thought about Rendez Vous, just down the road. I figured it would be packed on a Saturday morning, but as I drove by I saw only a few cars in the lot, so I circled around and went inside.
With 3 booths available, they tried to seat me an a corner right across from a couple; I pointed to a booth and she begrudgingly agreed. The hard sell for a Latte or Cappuccino ensued; I asked for American Coffee.
You'd think that in a french place they'd have good coffee, but this is diner coffee, served in a diner cup. They have abandoned the metal pitchers in favor or more dainty, ceramic ones.
From a physical standpoint, Rendez-Vous is a nice little place; like a little cafe. They have a 'bakery' counter, with booths along the wall and some tables in between.
Music is a mixed bag, From Soul Sister to Elton John.
The menu offers a lot of choices with scrambled eggs, but I never order scrambled eggs when I eat out. To order a regular breakfast it's all ala-carte and would cost $8 for eggs, sausage, potatoes and toast. I figured they might have some good Hollandaise at a french place, so I ordered the Eggs Benedict. I also ordered some sausage.
When it came out, I was pretty disappointed.
Rendez-Vous Eggs Benedict and Sausage
The eggs benedict, with no potatoes, is $10 and the sausage was $2 additional. I was thinking do they really charge $10 for this? The mustard colored hollandaise didn't look fresh, probably Maille jar sauce, except that there was no lemon taste whatsoever. The english muffins were over-toasted to the point where I had trouble cutting them with a steak knife, and the sausages were obviously not freshly cooked. It was all generally edible, but this is a far cry from the nicely cooked steak and eggs I had here 2 years ago.
Service was clueless; my server didn't say a word to me after dropping off the food, never asked if everything was ok, didn't refill my empty cup (another server filled it on her way back from her table), yet she did add about 1/2 once of coffee to an already full cup after I freshly sugared and creamed it. She also forgot to pick up the check after dropping it off; after 10 minutes I had to ask her to take it as she chatted with another server 10 feet away.
I know now why they were pretty dead on a Saturday morning. Bad food and bad service will cause that.
The menus we have from their website seem to be about a year out of date, so expect higher prices.
Rendez Vous Bakery & Bistro 6/10
Rendez Vous is one of those places you've driven by and might never have even noticed. It looks more like a house than a venue, and its located on a stretch of Oakland Park Blvd where there's little reason to be driving. Many directories list this as a bakery; but its really a french bistro.
Inside the place is surprisingly cozy; a cleanly decorated interior that bridges the gap between being a store and a restaurant. In the rear are display cases with breads and pastries; with wooden booths and small tables and chairs in the front. Pleasant french music is playing. Its really quite a nice place.
Rendez Vous Bakery and Bistro 6/10
Their menu includes a wide range of items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I stopped in for breakfast with a big appetite and promptly ordered the steak and eggs. While French restaurants usually serve hanger steak; Rendez Vous serves skirt steak. I ordered coffee as well, and was happy to see that they have spenda.
When the food arrived, I was sure I wasn't going home hungry.
Rendez Vous Bakery & Bistro Eggs 6/10
The baguette is a nice change of pace, and its freshly baked, soft and delicious. The steak was simply grilled, probably with olive oil, and I thought it might even be a hanger steak (its not). The potatoes are nicely seasoned with rosemary and some other herbs. By meals end I was full and happy and I have to say its one of the more enjoyable steak and egg breakfasts I've had in recent memory. They didn't charge me for coffee, so I'm not sure if its included with breakfast or they just forgot to add it. The menu doesn't indicate that its included.
I'd never been to Rendez Vous before, and I have to say its a pretty nice place. I could see coming here for lunch, definitely, and perhaps even for a casual dinner. It would certainly be my first choice for a French Bistro in Fort Lauderdale, and its moved to the top of my list for Breakfast as well.