Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

August 17, 2012 11:49 AM

Restaurant: 39 Rue De Jean

39 Rue De Jean

39 John Street
Charleston, SC
843-722-8835 fax
Mike Mandel recommended this restaurant and called ahead. His friend the chef was not there that day, but the restaurant responded with considerable special attention.

The restaurant is rustic like a bistro with pine wood floors. As you enter, there is a shoulder high wall that splits the room. To the left is a large bar with high stools and a series of round tables. There are also 4 booths which seat two people. To the right is the principal dining room.

Next to the center wall is a line of four 4 person booths. There is a banquette along the far wall that has five tables for 2 persons. There are also three tables of 4 persons and three tables of 6.

There is a whole upstairs dining room, which we did not see.

After we placed our order, there arrived the first unexpected treat of the evening. In front of us was placed a large bowl of mussels. Mussels are not ordinarily my favorite dish, but being polite, I weighed in. They were spectacular. The sauce used was Normande, but there are 6 different sauces available depending on what you order when you order this dish. Debbie’s best guess was that it was a sauce of white wine, shallot, and cauliflower cream, and Roquefort cheese.

I ordered onion soup gratinee with caramelized onions in rich broth.

We also shared a seaweed salad and escargots in garlic and parsley butter.

Debbie ordered Sunday Bouillabaisse, seafood served in garlic and white wine with crotini and red pepper rouille. Debbie says it was the best Bouillabaisse broth she has ever tasted.

I went for Braised Rabbit with white wine, crème Fraiche, whole grain mustard, and potatoes dauphinoise.

We were so full by this time that we decided to forego dessert. However, just at that moment, a dessert arrived that we did not order. Of course, we could not be impolite by either declining it or not eating it. It was a spectacular combination of cake and ice cream.

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