On the last day from a week tour of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, my final night caught me by surprise to find one of the best meals I ever had. In the small town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a restaurant called Rendezvous Bistro. The atmosphere is very chic and casual with very kind staff that even makes tourists feel at home. It is a very lively and bustling joint that is packed at the beginning of dinner service and has a long wait and for good reason.
Chef Robert Freedman offers locals and visitors delicious dishes for dinner that rotate seasonal options and special daily plates along with the regular offerings. The menu accommodates to all providing a great selection of meat, seafood and vegetable options. There are simple bistro items from soups to sandwiches and sophisticated main courses that just tickle your senses. At the beginning of the summer season, Rendezvous offered a deal of buying one entrée and get the second entrée for $2.00. The $2.00 is donated to a local charity. Not just a great deal for dinner to drive in customers, but also a way for them giving back to the community.
For the appetizer I had the Cornmeal Fried Oysters that was topped with a fresh celery, caper and cucumber salad served with warm long steamed olives. The oysters were perfectly fried with the cornmeal providing a crispy outside layer similar to fried chicken for the succulently sweet oysters. The chipotle sauce drizzled on the oysters gave a mild heat to complement the oysters. The olives added saltiness to the dish. The raw salad on top gave a freshness to balance out the dish.
The entrée course was a Crispy Lava Lake Lamb Belly that was intricately shaped in a circular structure that resembles a volcano. Inside the lamb belly held the lightly seasoned turmeric roasted cauliflower with crispy fried capers and reconstituted golden raisins. This all laid on a smear of warmed whipped goat cheese and was topped with a pistachio chimi churri. The lamb belly is very tender with the right amount of fat to keep the meat moist. By making the goat cheese warmed and whipped, the cheese was light and airy while keeping it creamy. The saltiness of the meat and goat cheese compliments the sweetness of the golden raisins. The pistachio chimi churri provided a nutty flavor that added another level of flavor to the dish.
Don’t forget to leave room for dessert. I’m usually a sucker for chocolate desserts. However on the menu there were two desserts that intrigued my interest: the basil crème brulee and the tropical profiterole. The basil crème brulee was complex in flavor with an essence of basil in the custard dueling with a golden crisp black pepper tuile cookie. Taking a bite of the tuile gave a mild heat from the black pepper that combined well with the basil custard with the differences in textures and flavor. In comparison to other crème brulee custards, this one was not as sweet. The caramelized sugar crust layer and the sweetness from the macerated berries round the balance of flavors.
The tropical profiterole was quite impressive even before the first bite. The profiterole was sliced in half with a scoop of ice cream and a wad of piña colada cotton candy. It was surrounded by mango fruit that was soaked in a passion fruit juice and topped with toasted coconut. The pastry was light with the right ratio of soft inside to crusty outside. The creamy vanilla bean ice cream compliments the sweetness from the mangoes along with the tartness from the passion fruit juice. The crunchy toasted coconut gave a great contrast to the soft and delicate cotton candy that was packed with flavor without disappointment.
Rendezvous manages to achieve the difficulty in creating a perfect balance between flavors and textures. To achieve both properly is a challenge for not only the novice chefs, but also the experienced ones. Each part of the meal manages to please every sense from the visual, smell, taste and touch as the food hits the taste buds. With dishes that good, no wonder they started to sell out of the sea scallops and the chocolate brownie sundae just after 8pm. I would rate Rendezvous better than some of the New York City restaurants I have been to. I would definitely place Rendezvous on the top five on my list of restaurants I have dined at. I would highly recommend for anyone who visits the Jackson Hole area to make a stop at Rendezvous.
**Tip: If you do not want to have a long wait for a table, make a reservation by telephone or through Open Table
380 South Broadway
Jackson Hole, WY 83001
Open for Dinner at 5:30pm