I was excited to try The Rendez-vous in Central Square, even after hearing mixed reports. Chowmom was in town for a visit so we decided to go for it.
I started with a calamari app that rocked -- spicy perfectly cooked squid over borlotti beans with arugula and fennel -- WOW! Definitely surpassed the yellowtail crudo that mom ordered. Her plate was beautiful but the fish wasn't as fresh as it should have been and the kitchen had an agressive hand on *some* of the yellowtail, not enough seasoning on the others. Sort of disappointing, as simple raw fish can be great and is one of mom's favorite.
My halibut (selected on Beetlebug's rec) was divine -- perfectly cooked on a bed of fingerling potatoes, favas, artichokes, morels and ramps. Hubba hubba. Skate wing on the bone was great -- a simple plate of the fish with brown butter. Perfectly cooked.
Wines by the glass were a nice way to try the carefully selected wine-list -- a recent article mentioned he is very particular about the small wineries he buys from, and it showed. My dolcetto was too soft for the fish, but that was my fault, not the wine's. Mom's gamay went perfectly with the skate. We could have tried more but exercised some rare restraint.
Dessert was lemon pudding with huckleberry -- again a Beetlebug rec. I'm not a super dessert freak, but this cloud of tart lemon flavored moussey cake on a pool of lemon curd with sweet huckleberry puree was amazing. Yes, finger-licking good.
I was worried about the service after numerous reports here about it being poor. Our waitress was a little friendly, with a very casual vibe (no touching!) but she was good at what she did -- no pressure to upsell, etc. The runner was the best -- offering mom a tip on how to scrape skate off the bone, really happy to welcome us to the restaurant for our first time, sweet.
The room is loud, although we were comfortable in our little banquette. Carafes of spring water on the table and attentive but not pushy clearing of used plates was appreciated. All in all, I really loved the food and found it to be very good value for money. I'm looking forward to going back.