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EATS: Restaurant Reviews and News | VENTURA COUNTY

By Customer Request

Menu at Le Rendez-Vous adds dishes that were well received as daily specials.


Even regular guests might need to look closely to catch the changes on the new menu to be unveiled soon at Le Rendez-Vous Restaurant in Newbury Park.

But once they find the several new items, the guests should be pleased, given that the additions were based on customer preferences. Entrees added to the permanent selection, covering the range of meat, fish and fowl, all paid their dues as specials of the day.

There will be sliced and grilled filet of ostrich topped with a Cabernet Sauvignon sauce with Black Forest mushrooms ($21.75 for the full dinner), coq au vin ($17.95) and a filet mignon Wellington ($23.75).

Arrival of the new menu, the first revision in about three years at Le Rendez-Vous, follows close behind the bulking up of the restaurant's wine list. In March, restaurant owner Francois Zanni Jr. increased his selection of California merlots, Pinot Noirs, cabernets and chardonnays. The restaurant now offers about 200 wines.

And along with the culinary tweaking, the French restaurant recently underwent some cosmetic adjustments.

"We've redone the dining room, with murals of different scenes of places I've been to in France," Zanni said. "One is the area where monks grow lavender."

The murals were painted by Oxnard artist Sandra Hilliard, who used as her guide photos from Zanni's visits to the various regions.

Le Rendez-Vous is at 1282 Newbury Road.


Sandy Smith, like any number of restaurant owners, will serve a special Easter brunch Sunday.

But for Smith, owner of Ventura's Rosarito Beach Cafe, Sunday brunch is not simply just another holiday promotion. It's an idea he has attempted on a regular basis.

And barring any change of plans, Smith intends to offer brunch every Sunday once again, beginning in May.

"Obviously, downtown Ventura is one notch further along with the theaters going in," Smith said. "So out come the sopaipillas (corn cakes) and honey butter and egg dishes one more time."

Smith will offer the brunch fare with some form of ham entree, strawberry shortcake, Mexican egg dishes and other specials.

As for the Easter brunch at Rosarito, it will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with egg and fish dishes from $7.95-$12.95.

Rosarito Beach is at 692 E. Main St.


Lisa Hicks loves wine. Chef Louis Ludwig loves food.

The two Ventura culinary professionals will combine their interests for a winemakers dinner April 17 at the Pierpont Inn. Ludwig, head chef at the inn, will match his cuisine with the wine of St. Francis Winery of the Napa Valley.

Hicks, owner of the Wine Lovers wine bar and shop arranged the meal, which will feature a different glass of wine with each course.

"St. Francis is known for their reds," Hicks said. "They have really rich cabernets, merlots and zinfandels," Hicks said.

Following a wine and cheese reception, Ludwig will open the multicourse meal with a basil mousse and chevre baked in a filo dough with a fresh fruit salsa, served with a chardonnay.

Next will be a tempura salmon salad topped with a honey-yogurt dressing with glazed walnuts, served with a zinfandel. For the entree, Ludwig will prepare a smoked Muscovy duck ravioli, with duck foie gras in a sun-dried cherry balsamic demi-glace reduction, served with a merlot.

Dessert will be a flour-less chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse, served with a St. Francis Cabernet.

The reception will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner at 6:30. Cost is $75 per person. Reservation deadline is Sunday. Call 652-1810.

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