The Birch Beat is a lifestyle blog focusing on food, wine and travel, and related lifestyle info. Gina Birch is a freelance writer and radio/TV personality in Southwest Florida
Friday, October 21, 2011
A "Rendezvous"....With Ribs
Before I went to Memphis last weekend, I was told by two different people to to check out Rendezvous. This wasn't my first time to the River City but I can't recall anyone ever suggesting the Vous.
I was also told it would be hard to find, in some random alley off of Union Street. I had to laugh because when I looked out of my hotel room of The Peabody, guess what greeted me? See that sign on the right with yellow print? The Rendezvous! I could also see smoke wafting through the alley from the coal grill; and when I walked through it, it was intoxicating.
As small of a dive as it appears to be, Rendezvous is enormous inside. The main seating area and bar is down a half flight of stairs, the rest is up. The sign on the hostess stand reads, "Not since Adam has a rib been this famous."
We started our feast with the signature appetizer of cheese sticks, sausage and pickles. The three are apparently meant to be stacked on a Saltine cracker, sprinkled with Rendezvous seasoning and BBQ sauce, then shoved down the hatch. The side of Coleslaw was not creamy; the dressing was more like vinegar with lots of seasonings. The baked beans were full of pork, spices and totally addicting.
But the star of the night was the dry rubbed ribs; basted in diluted vinegar and Rendezvous's famous rub. I tried them on their own and also drenched with BBQ sauce. The rub had a distinct taste of Coriander and when I went back the next day (to purchase some seasoning), a bartender confirmed it. He actually sprinkled some spice on a paper plate for me to sniff, taste and guess the other ingredients; since very few are listed on the bottle. I tasted celery seed, garlic, salt, paprika and I could see mustard seed. While I was studying the plate I was told there were a number of sites on the internet with people devoted to the same thing, unraveling the mystery of the Rendezvous Famous Spice. For some reason I think there may be a slightly different version used on the ribs, conspiracy!
Final observation on the Rendezvous Famous Seasoning; Bloody Mary's.....'nuff said.
Our night of dining also included the pulled pork and pulled chicken. I was in a BBQ induced coma when we stumbled back into the alley and meandered three blocks to Beale Street for some Blues.
If you're a wine lover like me, you might be disappointed by the cheap house brand offered at the Vous. Bring your own bottle and pay the modest $6 corkage or just get a pitcher of Michelob. More beer selections are available by the bottle.
When in Memphis you gotta do blues and BBQ, you gotta do the Vous.