“One order of mussels to go, please.” “Don’t you want to eat here?” the dubious counter man asks, thoughts of leaking garlic-lemon sauce dancing in his head. C’est le vie.
A French bakery doesn’t have to be all about croissants, and it isn’t at Rendez-Vous. The counter man may have preferred neatly wrapping roast beef on French bread for takeout, but the kitchen did a fine job of muscling those mussels into a foam tray and entombing it in plastic wrap.
Under the lid: 40 black-shelled beauties — sweet, chewy meat peeking out — in a heavenly broth of shallots, garlic butter, white wine and lemon. In another box: crispy, crinkled french fries. A mushroom crepe with béchamel and a jiggly quiche with spinach and smoked salmon completed our meal. Everything needed a lighter layer of sauce and a heavier shake of salt. On the side: a container of coconut-chicken soup. And for dessert: a petite but heavenly chocolate mousse pastry and a strawberry-kiwi tart.
The tiny Rendez-Vous surprises with its sprawling menu and home-country cooking. Choices include omelets, hot sandwiches (French dip, poulet fromage), and fancy-schmancy entrees (blanquette de veau, boeuf bourguignon, Provençal rack of lamb). French breakfast, including eggs, cheese and fruit, is served daily.
The parking-lot view from the sidewalk tables left something to be desired, so we took our French feast to a nearby park. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a candlelit meal, this bakery does much more than the pastries it showcases at the front counter.