First Look: Rendez Vous Bistro

Rendez Vous Bistro

Eager eaters are already packing downtown SR’s newest French bistro, chomping to see what former Emile’s Creekside chef Emile Waldteufel has up his sleeve. After an extensive overhaul, it’s an amazing space dominated by a large wood bar and a sunny Left Bank vibe.The menu is tres Parisian fare: from onion soup and escargot to Steak Frites, Sole Meuniere and Boeuf Bourginon.
But stakes are high in this crowded field which includes contenders like K&L Bistro, Chloe’s, Mirepoix and nearby Bistro 29 which have already proven their mettle. At first blush there’s still some translation getting lost — ho-hum frites, crackle-free creme brulee and some so-so sauces.
The good news: Service is spot-on, the location is great and with a bit of menu tightening, Rendez-Vous could end up a downtown classic, especially for late-nighters (they’ll be open until midnight). The restaurant will open for morning croissants and coffee, along with a full lunch menu starting next week. 614 4th St., Santa Rosa, (707) 526-7700.

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22 thoughts on “First Look: Rendez Vous Bistro

  1. Good service, totally ruined by the dish served at lunch. I ordered the prawns and scallop skewerS (notice the pleural). What arrived at the table was utterly shocking……. One, yes count them ONE, skewer laid over a bed of french fries and cabbage. On the SINGLE skewer were two very small prawns and two BAY scallops!!!! Absolutely unfathomable this would be served as a lunch. Any bistro worth its own weight would have been embarrassed to serve that dish as an APPETIZER!!! And here it was placed before me as a meal……..WTF?
    Take a wild guess if I will ever patronize that bistro again. They are completely clueless………

  2. I wanted so badly for this place to be good. BUT, it wasn’t! Waiters are not trained and seem clueless when it comes to the cheese and charcuterie. Why serve something you don’t understand? I don’t know who to blame, the management or unenthusiastic staff not motivated to learn the menu. Onion soup was bland, charcuterie was crap, steak frites…fries were soggy and steak was chewy. The list goes on. I will not be returning. The owners should have worked in a restaurant before they decided to open one.

  3. The ongoing theme is still true. Horrible service. I sat for 15 minutes with bread and water until I flagged down someone to take my order. Lunch service needs to be organized, especially for working patrons that need to get back to work. I had the spinach/mushroom/chicken crepe and was very plain. Nothing like true crepes in Paris. Bistro 29 wil be getting my business until they figure it out.

  4. Four of us ate at the restaurant Wednesday evening. The place was packed. We were very happy with the service, food, and atmosphere. We had time between courses to sip wine and chat. This was a birthday dinner for our friends and we all enjoyed the experience. My husband and myself will certainly visit this restaurant again. Our two friends are already talking about sharing this spot with their friends. All in all it was a hit.

  5. Having just read Jeff Cox’s review, I wonder what restaurant he ate at – not the one we did last week. It seems such a shame that they’ve done a fantastic job on the appearance and the details, from the mosaic floors to the high end table settings. It feels like they spent time and money on the externals, but it’s all show – the food is mediocre at best. It would be such a tremendous spot if the food was chef-conceived or inspired. The tables are way too small for the plates set on them, and the service was truly lacking; its as if there’s no manager on site. Once done with our Paella (fair), Bouilabaise (better) and mushroom ravioli (good but not made on site), our dirty dishes sat through 5 walk-bys by the waitress and bussers. Then, the waitress came and removed only my empty wineglass. A disappointing meal. Perhaps they’ll learn and adapt – with that location, it could be *the* place to go downtown, but not unless they improve both food and service. I may come back and try the lunch menu out – maybe, just MAYBE they’ll take a hint from the comments and improve.

  6. Last week , we had dinner at the new French bistro.
    The decor is great, the service was good, the food was very unremarcable.
    We had the Pate de foie, which was the artisan version but nothing to brag about..
    My wife had a green salad. OK.
    For the entree she had the steak and frites and I had the boeuf bourguinon.
    Both of them, tasted like a regular cafeteria food.
    We ordered a crepe with Nutella. They were out of Nutella so we had a crepe with pineapple. It was good.
    This was a big disapointment food wise.

  7. I believe that we were sitting next to SERVICE IS KING last night and I observed all of his/her complaints first hand. It was our little table of two who who may have received their salads by the clueless busser. We had to agree with all of their concerns regarding service and with their praise for the female server. I had the pate which was just OK – I still long for REAL Foie Gras but hey – it was worth a try. My companion had the mussels which unfortunately were “grainy” – UCK. The first half of the Frites were nice but the last portion in the bowl consisted of small overcooked dry pieces.
    I had the sole and was impressed. The wine in carafes is a nice touch.
    All in all I am hopeful for this little Bistro as it has the capacity to enhance Downtown, we had a glass of wine prior to dinner at Upper Fourth while listening to a great little live band. The Hostess at Rendevous was able to call us on our cell to let us know when our talbe was ready – again a nice touch.
    Unfortunately the food does not hold a candle to Bistro 29 or K&L but the ambiance is “dope”. Good luck!

  8. OldGal — Consider this. If there’s a theme, maybe it’s because there’s a consistent problem.
    We went with a party of six last night, all of us first-timers, to check it out. The menu, the presentation, the atmosphere, the wine list and the food itself were just fine, really. And I would go back in a flash.
    HOWEVER — management apparently has no clue about service organization. The waitperson herself was charming, friendly, knowledgeable and professional. But management apparently doesn’t understand that it would be best to have more people like her, and fewer buspeople. The biggest problem is that the buspeople are actually bringing the food out from the kitchen and have no idea where to take it. Time after time we watched as one or two guys would come out with plates, stand by our table and look like poor deer in the headlights, looking around with no idea as to which station (much less which diner) had ordered the items in hand. Over and over and over again.
    Twice, once w/appetizer course and once with main course, we had one person at our table left with nothing to eat and had to flag someone down to go look for our food. In BOTH cases, the food for our table had been delivered to a different patron at a different table.
    Then, later, it was our waitperson (the charming, experienced and efficient one) who was clearing our plates.
    We asked her why the staff was disorganized and misdirected like this — why do you have busboys serving guests and experienced servers bussing? Why not use the busboys to keep water and bread full, and let the trained and experienced servers take orders and deliver the dishes themselves? And then the busboys should be clearing dishes — not using the servers valuable time to clear (except in emergencies).
    Bussers — should speak at least a little English, keep bread baskets full, clear tables.
    Servers — take orders, answer questions, serve dishes to the patrons they took the orders from.
    Management — Organize the service hierarchy, hire the right people, and train employees better. Hire bussers who are capable of understanding the layout of the room & station numbers, and are able to interface with the customers enough that they can understand things like “I believe that onion soup is mine, please!” Don’t use bussers as servers or servers as bussers, except in urgent situations. And don’t send bussers out with food until they thoroughly understand the layout of the room, the station numbers. Train them, and test them.
    Oh, and this…when we asked our waitress about the upside-down tasking, she said she would bring it up at the next meeting…again. Clearly, management isn’t listening or doesn’t think this is a problem.
    I wish the boss would care about service — I’d really like this place to succeed. And I’m not so snobby about service I won’t go back — I will return. But the service situation is laughable. Fortunately I have a sense of humor and don’t let it ruin my evening.

  9. Reading the comments here just now a theme seemed to emerge and caused be to wonder how many (if any) of these comments were planted. Just a thought.

  10. LOVE this place! They make escargot just like my French chef mother did. The ambiance is the closest thing to the real Paris on this coast. My only complaint is that this place will be so popular, it will be impossible to get a patio table without waiting an hour.

  11. Read the YELP! reviews on Rendezvous Bistro. Bad things are happening frequently to many customers. Also note that the 5 star reviews are all written by the owner and his fellow web-trolls.

  12. Friday night… the place was alive, many people sitting outside. Great salads, fantastic paella, reasonable wine list with great French and California selections. This is what downtown Santa Rosa has been waiting for! This is not Bistro 29 or K&l Bistro, but a real bistro with a great bar and food and LIFE!

  13. I was very excited for this restaurant to open and don’t get me wrong, I wish them well. But I can hardly wait for them to get their service act together. And fiqure how to make good tasty food. I saw in thes posts something about the crepes. I agree ours tasted like rubber. Also management doesn’t seem to have a clue.
    They have the right idea with the menu and this is just the kind of place I could go to a few times a week but this place has the potential to be just another bar, (they have more bar stools than regular seats) if they don’t tend to the service and the food.

  14. What a wonderful dinner we had last night. Food not only perfect (being French we should know) but Renne our waitress was top. I was born and raiseed in the restaurant industry and think people need to make up their own mind once they eat there themselves.I went in with low expectations due to some of these feedback but glad I tried it and going back again this week for sure. Right away Nino the owner was not only nice to us but asked us for any feedback on his food , they alo give you a feedback form if you have comments. As Heather said he is still working on his fries but everything else was top. We had oysters;escargots;charcuterie plate;salad with goat cheese toast; steak frites;and crepe for dessert . Prices are more then fair and atmosphere was great . They were packed but nothing was missed by our waitress. Good for them , somewhere new to go without having to go to Yountville for a great French dinner.

  15. were there thursday night. good to see this place was hopping! had cheese platter, very good – though it’d be nice if we knew what they were. had Sole Meuniere, delicious – and the the crepes were excellent! friendly and attentive staff, nice ambiance. will be back!

  16. I loved it! Fun french cafe atmosphere. Solid Steak Fritz. My Creme Brulee had a nice thick top.
    Of course in the beginning its going to be hit and miss, just think of it as a dining adventure, rather than expecting it to be the most perfect night ever, you’ll have more fun, and then who knows, maybe it will turn out to be perfect after all.
    I hope that the Late night promise stays true! I am always wishing for good late night options, and tho they promise, many restaurants don’t manage to keep to it.

  17. what a shame. Emile’s was usually a great experience. Perhaps they just need to get the staff properly trained.

  18. I ate here last week and thought it was awful! Our food was just ok and the prices were WAY too high for the meal served. The cheese plate was a total joke. Our waiter couldn’t remember the cheeses on the tray and we had to ask for bread to go with a cheese plate! I thought the service was slow and the food wasn’t hot when it arrived. Plus they pre-make the crepes! They have about 20 crepes already made and when you order one, they put the crepe on the grill throw in whatever you ordered so when it arrives the dough is hard and crunchy. Ours was even black in some areas. Won’t be back. I will choose Eloise or Bistro 29 any day over this place!

  19. I went here a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t impressed at all. The manager guy was rude when i asked him about the lack of knowledge of the waitstaff with there menu. The service was good however. I will not be back. My dish was served semi warm, the sauce seemed a little thin & my desert was tasteless. Go to bistro 29 if you want a real good dinner

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