Saturday, January 12, 2013

My two favorite times of the year in Charleston are September Restaurant Week and January Restaurant Week.  What could be more fun than to try any one of 100 or so Charleston restaurants, with a 3 or 4 course menu sampling, showcasing what is so right about the Charleston gastronomic scene?  If you're a true Foodie, nothing!~
On the first night of this winter's Restaurant Week, we visited 39 Rue De Jean, a lovely mid-sized French restaurant on John St., just off of upper King.  We found convenient parking behind the Music Hall next door and were seated opposite a wall of gently aged mirrors, tilted just so to give the room an expansive feel.
For our first course, we chose a creatively prepared mixed salad, topped with a deep fried, soft cooked egg.  The egg was just crispy enough on the outside, warm and smooth on the inside.  The garlic in the vinaigrette was very subtle.  We also tried the roasted carrot soup, which was perfectly pureed and seasoned.  It was topped with creamy goat cheese and crispy prosciutto.  The prosciutto was slivered and just salty enough.  Served with a crusty French bread, the soup was my favorite part of the meal.
For entrees, we chose Basque chicken and Trout & Mussels, "En Papillote".  The chicken was "fall off the bone" tender, served with a hearty creole red rice.  The fish and mussel dish was very flavorful, with sliced lemon, red onion and squash, in white wine and butter, wrapped in parchment paper and oven poached.
We both chose a Chocolate Pate for our Dessert course.  The dish consisted of a very thin, rectangular slice of rich, smooth chocolate pate, surrounded by Creme Anglaise and sliced, fresh strawberries.  The combination of textures and flavors was perfect....not too sweet or heavy....absolutely delicious, we both agreed.
The only disappointment was that the dish recommended to us by friends who had eaten at Rue De Jean often, the Steak Frites, was not on the Restaurant Week menu.  We will return to try it, along with another dish, their potato truffle soup.  After the success of their carrot soup, I can only imagine how good their other soups must be.  Bon Appetite.

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