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by Richard C. Ross

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Aliano's Ristorante in Batavia

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Frank Lloyd Wright in Batavia

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Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Rendezvous is defined thusly:

1a : a place appointed for assembling or meeting
1b : a place of popular resort : haunt.

Of course the minor rub here is that the particular restaurant of which I speak is not spelled in the "traditional" French way, a indicated above.   In Batavia -- along the east side of the Fox River and just across the bridge --resides a small venue named RendezVu.  Close enough, as it fits both of the above-cited definitions.  More importantly, it is one of the "Little Engine(s) That Could" when it comes to not only popularity, but its uncanny ability to survive both a massive and business unfriendly bridge reconstruction and, more recently, a very disruptive and non-business friendly redo of North River Street.  Through all of this, RendezVu just keeps chugging along.

In business since 2006,  RendezVu owner and Chef Jerry Dunn started out in cramped quarters at the corner of North River Street and East State Street.  With the demise of One East Wilson -- the prior restaurant that existed at the One E. Wilson address -- Dunn upgraded and moved his restaurant to the new location on the river in April of 2008.

Recent conversations with Chef Jer led me to learn that we had some things in common: both of us had worked at the Mill Race Inn (in different capacities) back in the '70s.  Also, the Chef had worked with owner/Chef Joel Findlay at 302 West in Geneva.   And, although I did not work there, it is certainly no great secret that 302 West was one of my favorite all-time restaurants. 

I loved both of those restaurants dearly and was sad to see them depart the local scene.  But, in the restaurant biz, there is one constant: change; it is best to embrace that fact and move on.  In any case, it was nice to sense what I hope was a sort of camaraderie and what I assume was a mutual respect for the peculiarities of the business.  I also gained new respect for Chef Jer; knowing where he worked and for whom told me a lot about him and his capabilities.

More importantly, I decided that I wanted to share with OntheFox readers a bit about RendezVu restaurant in Batavia.  My wife and I have visited on several occasions and enjoyed cocktails, appetizers and dinner.  During the warmer months, the outside patio is a great place to enjoy a snack and a beverage while watching the Fox River roll past.  Inside, the upstairs provides a place to share conversation, cocktails, or even a game of pool.  The lower level can accommodate about 50-60 diners at tables, as well as another dozen or so at a long bar that faces an old limestone wall with windows that include a view of the river.

RendezVu has an extensive menu that provides tasty appetizers like Goat Cheese Marinara with toasted French Bread, Parmesan-Crusted Sea Scallops with a zesty Lemon-Herb Sauce, or crispy stand-bys like Fried Calamari, Potato Skins or Buffalo Chicken Wings, although the favorite seems to be the Texas Cheese Fries with Bacon and Jalapenos.

There are also plenty of seafood selections, beef, pork and chicken entrees and even a stir-fry; add to that homemade pizza, lots of pasta choices and nightly specials, a full wine list and don't forget -- Chef Jer's specialty: dessert -- and you have got a wonderful local place to enjoy dinner or just a night out with friends.

RendezVu definitely does not fall into the "fine dining" category; I don't think it was ever intended to.  And if you are looking for a venue that offers a quiet dinner with quiet conversation, you might need to investigate further; as the night wears on, the noise level tends to increase as friends enjoying a night out tend to increase the conversation volume.  That's not always a bad thing...

On a recent Saturday night visit (earlier than we might normally eat), my wife and I ordered some excellent salmon and prime rib for dinner -- both evening specials -- we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  From an appetizer of Parmesan-Crusted Sea Scallops to a very tasty Cr�me Br�l�e dessert, the evening was quite memorable.  And, as we were leaving, "the regular crowd shuffles in..."

If you haven't visited RendezVu, perhaps you should.  The service has always been decent and the food has always been very good.  The constant at RendezVu however is the value; in these tough economic times, that's a very good thing.



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