The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 10, 2006


The Mosquito Dines Out:
Central Square
502 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge


Rendezvous: An agreement between two or more persons to meet at a certain time and place. A place for a meeting or assembling often for social, romantic , or mysterious purposes. Also, a restaurant in Cambridge, not to be missed.

This past Sunday evening, we dined at Rendezvous in Cambridge. Owned by Steve Johnson, formerly of the Blue Room in Kendall Square, the new restaurant is already a hit. The menu is extensive and imaginative. The wines are reasonably priced and the decor is stylish and far above that of the previous fast- food emporium located there.

On Sundays the menu is prix fixe — three courses — and has many choices, all for $29 per person. These are a small example of the starter choices: salads, ceviche of fresh Maine shrimp, sautéed salmon cakes with sweet pea puree, truffled parsnip soup with faro, one perfect cheese (Raschera Piedmontese cheese from Italy).

Now, out of those choices we picked the winter vegetable antipasto and one perfect cheese. The winter vegetables were a selection of roasted baby carrots, baby red and yellow beets, parsnip slices, olives, eggplant puree with cilantro and cold sliced cucumber in light vinaigrette. The one perfect cheese was a slice of Raschera with bread, toasted spiced walnuts, and spiced cranberry sauce and small white onions cooked in honey. All of these were set on a wooden board, and you could start the feast with your eyes.

For the next course, my husband chose skillet-roasted skate with brown butter and lemon, which had vegetables and potatoes. The skate has a cartilaginous center layer which Alex delighted in eating, piece by piece. Usually this is not eaten but, much to the chef's surprise, Alex loves this part.

I chose the cassoulet of duck, pork and sausage. It was delicious, cooked with the usual white beans and excellent seasoning.

At dessert time, although each of us got a dessert with our dinner, we opted to take one home. We had the pear tart Tatin with honey-lavender ice cream there and took home the chocolate cake that is usually served warm with some exotic ice cream.

Make sure you make a reservation, as the place fills up quickly and the excellent food and service are the reasons why this happens. The chef owner, who spent several years in France, oversees everything to insure a top dining experience.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito