Last Friday, my husband treated me to a night on the town – at Rendezvous, that is. I gathered all of my information so that we could be ready to go once he got home, including exactly how to get there and where to park. Parking downtown always made me anxious, so I wanted to know exactly where to go.
Rendezvous is considered to be one of the most famous BBQ joints in downtown Memphis, and the alley in which it’s door (actually the back door, but the one they use as the entrance) is located has come to be named after the famous restaurant – Charlie Vargos Rendezvous Alley.
Before I tell you about that, let me tell you where we ended up parking. After a few minutes trying to find the alley, which is situated between 2nd and 3rd streets, we realized there was parking down there and that we could drive through the alley to see the front door (er, back door) of the restaurant. As we drove slowly, and were stopped by a man who wanted us to become patrons of his parking garage, we enjoyed the smell of BBQ smoke literally wafting out of the building. The smell alone attracted hundreds. We drove on, seeing as the streetside parking had all been taken, and made a round or two around the block to see garage pricing. Turns out the man in the alley wasn’t giving us any better of a deal, so we picked a garage and parked. We walked to the restaurant, which wasn’t far at all.
The smell was so tantalizing to the taste buds. Upon entering through the doors to the foyer where almost a dozen people stood around waiting for their names to be called so that they could be seated, we made our way downstairs, to the basement, where the actually dining room/restaurant was and gave the receptionist our name. She said we had around a 5 minute wait.
So we went back up to the foyer and stood for a minute, and then I told me husband I needed to find a restroom. It was upstairs, and so off I went. The bathroom was modestly clean, although it could have been better. You have to pass through the bar area to get to the ramp that leads up the bathrooms.
When I returned to my husband, we decided to go up to the bar and grab a drink before dinner. Well, he did anyway. He paid $5 for a bottle of Heineken. Soon enough, our names were called and we made our way down to our quaint little table for two. Our waiter was friendly, and we ordered the 1/2 BBQ Ribs, 1/2 Pork Shoulder platter. You see, over the years my husband and I came to realize that we really only need to share one single platter, otherwise we are eating just way too much and end up taking most of it home anyway. The waiter was nice enough to give us our own plates – paper plates is what they use, with a layer of foil on top.
Cuts down on the need for a dishwasher, I guess! Although, they do use regular silverware. The food came rather quickly, and oh my how good it was! I must say, up to this point in Memphis my husband had agreed that Corky’s was our favorite BBQ, but this place was rising to the challenge for sure! I enjoyed the sauce – they served two different types at the table – a darker sweeter sauce (which I preferred), and a lighter hotter sauce (which, not surprisingly, my hubby preferred). The ribs, I told me husband, reminded me much of TGI Friday’s ribs, which tend to be cooking harder which I enjoy. The ribs had a much nicer smoky flavor to them than the chopped pork shoulder did, which was still very enjoyable. We paid about $18 for that platter, which included a small serving of baked beans and a small serving of cole slaw (which I wasn’t very impressed with, because it didn’t give you that desired “cooling” effect, because it was as if they had added hot sauce or else the hot BBQ sauce to it, giving it a strange orange color. But my husband liked it).
The entire experience at Rendezvous was very pleasant, and I think if we go back again it will be Friday again because apparently Friday is not nearly as busy as Saturdays. I don’t like long waits. But I loved being able to wait at the bar, sitting at a laquered bench while we waited for our name to be called over the very loud speaker that could be heard even in the top-level bathroom!
What do I have to say about Rendezvous? It really is a nice experience. Perhaps it may not be what you expect, considering all the hype it receives, but I do know it is noteworthy both in location, style, and of course – taste!