Now we all know that when it comes to barbecue, I'm a little ambivalent, but I know what tastes good and what doesn't. Prior to very recently, I had only been to Rendezvous once, and let's just say, I wasn't impressed. Now, in their defense, we did drop in after a Redbirds baseball game, so it was near the end of the night. But the ribs were dry and most of the food was bland. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to revisit the Rendezvous for a business dinner at 7 p.m. on a Friday night. Thankfully, the food was much improved.
We started off with the Rendezvous Special, a version of a sausage and cheese plate that included sausage, cheddar, smoked ham, salami, pickles and pepperoncinis all sprinkled with Rendezvous dry rub seasoning. This was my favorite part of the meal. I really enjoyed the inclusion of non-traditional meats; it really elevated the dish.
We also sampled the pork ribs and chopped chicken combo, and this time, the meat was cooked properly. I still think I prefer wet ribs to dry, but these were at least juicy and tender.
We also had the lamb riblets. I never even know people served or ate lamb riblets. These were okay, but lamb riblets are extremely fatty. There was way more fat than meat, but the meat that was there was quite tender as well.
A trip to Rendezvous isn't complete without BBQ Nachos. These were quite good, much better than the version they serve down the street at AutoZone Park. They almost make me forget my aversion to liquid nacho cheese.
Final Impressions: The food at the Rendezvous is solid. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to someone if they asked me where to find the best barbecue in Memphis. But, at least it isn't tied with another establishment for worst barbecue in the city like it was before this most recent trip. Stick with the Rendezvous special or the nachos, and you'll be just fine.
Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous
52 2nd Street
Memphis, TN 38103
Average Appetizer Price: $9-$16
Average Sandwich Price: $4-$8
Average Entree Price: $9-$20