Chef's Table - French Twist

From the time Saigon fell in 1975, Kiet Changivy and his wife, Tuyet, went back and forth between Atlanta and France, cooking in Parisian restaurants, before opening their Brookhaven restaurant Au Rendez Vous in 2002. The Changivys are self-taught and their tiny storefront seats about 30. They have received almost unanimous critical praise since they opened the restaurant, which serves both lunch and dinner.

Creative Loafing: Who cooks and who is the manager?

Kiet: We both cook and we both greet and serve customers.

Your location is a bit hidden. Why did you choose Brookhaven?

I have known this area for 10 or 15 years. It used to be rundown. But as I drove around, I see they are making beautiful houses near Osborne. We paid attention. This space used to be a liquor store and before that a convenience store. This used to be a place where drug dealers hung out. Now it is an expensive neighborhood. We will be moving to a bigger place, a building we own, on Clairmont next year. We can remodel and get more exposure.

Yet your prices are very affordable.

Au rendez vous means a "place of meeting" in French. My wife wants this to be a place people can come to instead of cooking at home.

Do you have a philosophy for your food?

Well, our food is simple, everyday eating. But to have good food and a good time, that is the way the place is.

Are your clients surprised to see a Southeast Asian cooking French food?

We are probably the only Vietnamese people who cook French food in Atlanta. A lot of people speak French in my family.

What do you think about the Asian restaurants on Buford Highway?

We are in very separate neighborhoods. We don't serve many Vietnamese, mostly Americans. There are too many Asian restaurants on Buford Highway.

What are your most popular dishes?

Currently, beef Burgundy, but we try to have something for everyone's tastes. You can measure any French restaurant to another by it. People also like our crepes.

Do you have a favorite French restaurant?

The best place to eat in France is with a French family in the countryside where everyone takes their time to cook and to eat. That's where all the flavor is.-- Suzanne Wright

Au Rendez Vous, 1328 Windsor Parkway. 404-303-1968.

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