|Roasted Duck at Chez Nous|
What would your first bite of this masterpiece be? Mine was a grape. On the surface, roasting grapes seems odd. Once in my mouth though it was anything but odd. The grape's flavor was enhanced by the roasting and its' texture was still firm. My next bite was a piece of roasted duck whose edges crackled in my mouth and center melted on my tongue. The mushrooms were King Trumpet, and according to my server, perhaps originated from Mepkin Abbey, perhaps not, which added mystery to the dish. When swirled in the creamy turnip pureé, I wondered if anything else could taste as good as these mushrooms? The answer is yes, if it's another dish served at this tiny pearl of French cuisine, just off busy Coming Street in Downtown Charleston.
With only street parking available, you must plan your attack at Chez Nous. A small sign just before the intersection of Spring Street alerts you to the restaurant which is set back from Coming St. on Payne Court in a small, Charleston single house. My dining partner and I arrived at twelve thirty for a one o'clock lunch reservation and found two parking spaces out front. Landing a parking space there was a good sign of great things to come.
Our second entreé, Pan Grilled Swordfish, was equally enticing as the duck entreé. And again, the dish was so beautifully presented that you almost hated to disturb it with your fork. Almost.
And, oh yes, the finish is just as glorious as the rest of the meal; Mousse au Pamplemousse, Grapefruit Mousse, is fun, French and creamy beyond description. While grapefruit and mousse don't sound like they go together, they do. Light in texture and gentle in flavor, the mousse was the perfect end to our dining experience, especially when accompanied by a tiny cup of espresso with thick cream and a lump of sugar plopped into the cup, stirred and sipped very slowly.
My suggestion is to order one of everything on the Chez Nous daily menu. They offer two appetizers, two entreés and two desserts each day, depending on what locally sourced, fresh ingredients are available each morning. My advice to you is try them all, share with your dinner partner, enjoy each bite and forget the rest of world for a few pleasant hours at Chez Nous.