Blue, or if you prefer, bleu, is the color of gorgeous skies, glistening waters and, how can we forget, first-prize ribbons. If someone in Southwest Florida were to receive an award for crafting timeless French comfort food like coq au vin, Chef Christian Vivet would be among the top contenders. For nearly a decade, he ran Blue Windows Bistro to much fanfare, and this May he opened Bleu Rendez-Vous French Bistro on Sanibel (2430 Periwinkle Way; 565-1608).
But the big news now is that he has sold the original restaurant to Chef Harold Balink, himself a huge name for the innovative cuisine rooted in the classic French techniques he brought to Cru.
If you’re one of Vivet’s loyal followers and happened to stop by and peer through the glass at the South Fort Myers locale (15250 S. Tamiami Trail, 849-0622), you may have guessed something was up. “When someone finds out you’re keeping a secret, it can spread like wildfire,” Vivet says with a laugh, happy to officially let the cat out of the bag.
Balink and Vivet have been friends for 20 years, and they’re both excited for what’s ahead. “When Christian got in touch, I thought it was a sign that I was doing the right thing,” says Balink, who has some surprises up his sleeve before opening in time for season. (Stay tuned to both Gulfshore Life and gulfshorelife.com for the latest dish.)
As for Bleu Rendez-Vous, head over the causeway before Vivet takes his yearly summer vacation in September—he’s doing a special white wine dinner on Aug. 19—or drop by any night after Oct. 1. The menu is still largely the same, and his winning four-course prix-fixe starring escargots and steak frites deserves a medal in our book.