Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rendezvous Caribbean Restaurant

The No-Plate Special

Said it before gonna say it again: this blog's all about find dining--the kind of eats where you're driving down a street, you pause before a sign, you park and walk right in (or likewise you're walking down said street, pause before a sign). Last week we discovered Grill Kebab on Route 30 East this way; this week we found Rendezvous Caribbean Restaurant a tiny place tucked away in the corner of West Washington and Black Street, on the south end of Chambersburg's downtown. This place had at various points been a Mexican bakery and a pizza joint; if anyone were to ask "What would you put up here instead?" an eatery serving Caribbean food wouldn't have been the first idea to come to mind--but why not? It's different; and we're (along with discovery and good food) all about la difference

The folks tell us they have been open since February of last year; I'll take their word for it. They have Christmas lights strung along the windows, and the walls are painted a bright orange, but the place looks a touch unfinished. I did like are the prints of paintings hung up here, there.

If the place feels humble and looks quiet, the food certainly shouts out its flavors. We ordered the collard greens and oxtail stew; the latter came in a takeout box with a heaping helping of orange rice and vegetables. The oxtails--love the bits and pieces of an animal--are falling-off-the-spinal-cord tender, the stew sauce thick and rich. 

The drink incidentally was a cantaloupe fruit shake, milky sweet with a fresh-fruit flavor. 

The collard greens turn out to be if anything even tastier: leaves in a thick meat sauce, actually shredded beef, served with fried plantains--fruit sliced and fried into crispy chips. The order comes with a little ramekin full of what looks like cole slaw--but watch out! What appears to be shredded cabbage in a cooling mayo dressing is actually a fiery salad that could burn a hole through your tongue, and was still delicious anyway.

We ordered takeout and as it turns out that takeout was every bit delicious as the rest of the food: fried pork, chunks of pig fried till crispy and served with black rice. C. who we ordered this for, declared it the best of the lot, practically 'a mouthful of heaven.' Hard to argue with him--it's that good. 

On a return trip we ordered the chicken: again it's drumstick and thigh, heavily spiced and curried, with a creamy potato salad and an abundance of black rice.

But the in my book highlight of their menu (so far anyway) would be the conch--slices of sea snail sauteed and spiced. It was like eating tender morsels of calamari, in a thick shrimp sauce, or nicely toothsome nuggets in divine brininess. When the conch ran out--alas--you mixed the sauce into the rice, and you got tasty carbs soaking in shrimp paradise. 

We need to come back of course; there's the fish to try, and the soups, and the ragu (a soup more meat than broth, I'm told). 

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