Del Mar Rendezvous (Restaurant Week Preview)
We’re giving away two tickets to Restaurant Week at Del Mar Rendezvous! Go to our Facebook page and like us for a chance to win! Check out the bottom of the post for further details.
Anh and I previewed Del Mar Rendezvous last night and wanted to give you an idea of what to expect for the Restaurant Week menu. Can you believe it’s already Restaurant Week again!? It seems to creep up on you each time. You won’t see me complaining though…
We arrived and right away noticed the modern twist to this Chinese establishment. One of the managing partners, Daniel was there to welcome us. Before we left he gave us his card which reads “Modern Chinese Cuisine.” Now I know why. The décor was tasteful, not over the top, and seemed to fit the experience. It was a cozy environment and you could get a sense that there was some serious cooking taking place in the kitchen by not only the smell, but from the various voices reaching the tables from the open kitchen. I personally don’t mind that since it lets me know there’s a live body cooking the food and not some sort of machine sent from the future to prepare our food. Daniel did mention that they just remodeled the restaurant and they have some tables outside which would be fun to sit at on a nice day.
The lettuce wraps were tasty. They weren’t over the top salty like PF Changs’ and actually had enough lettuce for us to finish the filling. The filling consisted of chicken, mushrooms, and water chestnuts along with some sauces if you desired more flavor. The choices were hoisin and chili oil. Lettuce wraps are one of those dishes that restaurants should get right and luckily they did a good job here with their version. It’s not something that I’d travel miles to satisfy a craving, but it is a universal dish that almost anyone with a soul, has an opportunity to at least taste and enjoy from time to time.
Next up were the steamed pork buns (xiao long bao). I actually thought we were getting the boiled shrimp and chive dumplings on the Restaurant Week menu, but when they brought these out I smiled inside. I do frequent one of their other restaurants, Dumpling Inn, to get my xlb fix, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it here before our eyes…and mouths. There were six of them that came in one order, and Daniel told us the sauce that comes with it includes vegetable broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, and a little chili oil. We also talked about making our own sauce at the typical dumpling places, but it was nice that it was already premixed for a change. I was too lazy to modify it and it didn’t have enough spice or vinegar for my taste. The trick to eating these is to make sure to retain all the broth when you bite into them. The broth itself in the xlb tasted a little different than Dumpling Inn. The flavor was a little less salty, and the pork was a little denser. It just seemed like a healthier version, but without sacrificing much flavor. In any case, I surely was happy to get xlb, especially since I didn’t expect it.
The two entrees we ordered were the walnut shrimp and kung pao pork tenderloin over sautéed snow peas. When it comes to honey walnut shrimp Anh and I are experts. The title is not self-proclaimed, but the live shrimp before each Chinese dinner actually is presented tableside and that gave us this title. Yes, they speak to us and it is the burden we carry with us for the love of food. Seriously though, we’ve been eating this since we were kids and it isn’t easy to pull off the authentic taste. Rendezvous did a great job reproducing that childhood experience. The broccoli and the huge shrimp were outside the norm, but the flavor was spot on. What a stunning presentation with the contrasting colors. Normally you only get shrimp and walnuts. Maybe a touch too much mayo, but really you can’t tear down this classic with nitpicking. The breading was just the right thickness, the shrimp cooked to perfection, and with the sweetness of each bite, you better watch yourself. You may just ask for more.
The kung pao pork! I’m not sure what makes this kung pao but I don’t care. The tenderness of the pork in those thin slices was something to behold. The snow peas complete the dish. Honestly I didn’t give this much of a chance after I knew honey walnut shrimp was coming our way, but boy was I mistaken. I forgot to ask Daniel how they get the pork so tender, but now I picture someone in the back slow cooking this for days. The sauce was more sweet than spicy, almost like a peking pork chop dish they serve at Chinese restaurants. Don’t worry, the entrees were served with brown and white rice too. Portions were large, so come hungry!
Mudpie at a Chinese restaurant, why not!? A huge pile of mocha almond fudge ice cream, with a chocolate cookie crust, chocolate and caramel sauce. It’s been proven that all these components work together so if you like the coffee/chocolate flavor combo, you should consider it.
The mango sorbet. We welcomed tart back into our lives. Man this was good. Again, you can’t go wrong with mango sorbet and the raspberry sauce on top, put it over itself…the top that is.
I find it funny that the savory dishes were served at the beginning, and we got sweeter and sweeter until the end. Everything lead up to one thing. A pretty sweet experience. I can’t thank Daniel and Jen enough for hosting us and giving us an idea of what Del Mar Rendezvous is all about.
Win two certificates (3 course meal) for Del Mar Rendezvous during Restaurant Week!
Del Mar Rendezvous giveaway rules:
Okay, we’re going to keep this super simple.
1. ”Like” our facebook page
2. Comment on this post and tell us what dish you are most excited to get!
You’ll be entered to win twice if you do both. Deadline for submission is 11:59pm Monday, January 17th.
PS Thanks to Jen from BAM Communications and Daniel!
Del Mar Rendezvous
1555 Camino Del Mar, Suite 102
Del Mar, CA 92014