Liz convinced me and a friend of hers to try Rendezvous last night before a concert in Central Square. It was convenient to where we were going and someone told her it was good. I don’t totally regret it…

We have seen and heard some good things about Rendezvous recently, particularly in Gourmet and Boston Magazine, but for some reason I just could not get myself excited to go, and the menu didn’t help. Of the appetizers the gnocchi and the chicken livers looked good, but nothing else stood out. Of the entrees, the duck and the meatballs, I suppose – but restaurant meatballs? What was I thinking? We started with a charcuterie plate that was actually quite good. A chicken liver pate, some housemade lardo, and a pork and veal terrine. For appetizers I was forced into getting the scallops, since Liz wanted the chicken livers, and then the gnocchi as a main course. The sauce for my scallops had “Moroccan spices”. Apparently, Moroccans go wild for tons of cumin. After scraping that off, the scallop tasted fine. Liz’s chicken livers were overcooked – they had turned the tender and fatty texture of a well-cooked liver into the grainy and mealy texture of an icky one.Things didn’t get much better with the entrees. The meatballs were served over toasted orecchiette, kale, and piave cheese. The toasted orecchiette were nice – I enjoyed the contrast between the chewiness of the pasta and the crispiness of the crust. It’s too bad they were served with totally lame meatballs. There was just nothing interesting to these balls of ground meat. The only seasoning I could detect was garlic – and poorly chopped garlic at that. I bit into at least 3 significant chunks, and I was not the only one to suffer the consequences. Let’s just say that Liz wasn’t giving me much affection for the 24 hour period following our meal. Liz’s gnocchi were the real train wreck though. They were homemade, so I guess you have to applaud the effort, but they were very mushy and contributing to the mushiness was the fact that they were served in essentially a soup of oily mushroom-water. The gnocchi were submerged in liquid, which is something I have never seen before and don’t recommend. I’m fairly sure that if they sat in that broth for a little while longer they would have dissolved into a potato porridge. The dessert we had was excellent – a lemon-buttermilk pudding with huckleberry sauce. Definitely try it. My overall impression of Rendezvous was negative, but I think we ordered poorly. The overcooked liver was their mistake, the gnocchi and the meatballs ours. It’s just hard to make these well, and my expectations should have been low. I’m confident that sticking to more traditional bistro items like duck and fish would have been the better call and the more satisfying meal.

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