- Vivienne Machi, Staff Writer
You really shouldn’t need an excuse to indulge in the fine French-inspired dining of Rue Dumaine.
But if you really need one, the news that Chef and co-owner Anne Kearney has once again been named a semifinalist by the James Beard Foundation for the “Best Chefs in America” competition for the Great Lakes region is a great reason.
Whether you opt for the French Provencal classics or choose a more “French-inspired” dish that Kearney has given a unique twist, you can be sure you’re enjoying fresh, local and often hyper-seasonal ingredients. We appreciated that the menu included a list of all of Rue Dumaine’s local farmers and producers so you really see their investment in shopping local.
For the French dining-initiates, there is also a glossary of the many culinary terms you’ll encounter on the menu, from pommes frites to Amandine. If you’re still confused, simply ask your extremely knowledgeable server to walk you through a dish while you sip your classic cocktail.
Rue Dumaine recently debuted a new menu, which includes a variety of small plates – a result of many patrons wishing they could sample more dishes, according to our server. For the indecisive eater, this is your dream come true. These dishes come in around $9 - $14 per plate, with a protein serving size from 2 oz. to 4 oz. Several of Rue Dumaine’s most beloved and classic dishes are still available in their original full size, with protein servings at about 6 oz. to 8 oz.
To start off, try the Belgian endive salad ($8.5). In the chicory family, the bitter crunch of sliced endive pairs wonderfully with sweet Fuji apple, watercress, walnuts and a bit of blue cheese to round out the flavor. A simple Banyuls vinaigrette – made primarily with Banyuls white vinegar, Dijon mustard and oil – brings out each flavor without smothering them.
Off the new small plate menu, the seared sea scallop plate ($9) was divine. Two perfectly cooked scallops were served with a just-rich-enough Meyer lemon butter sauce atop English pea mash with preserved lemon-cucumber relish and locally raised pea shoots. The English pea mash is something different, but so tasty and with a great texture paired with the smooth scallops, and the crunch of the lemon-cucumber relish gave a crisp and refreshing bite to the otherwise pillowy dish.
But you can’t go wrong with the classic Pan-seared sea scallop dish ($13), either – the three scallops here were also perfectly cooked, served with a rich blood orange beurre noisette, or brown butter sauce. Paired with roasted fingerling potatoes and wilted leaks, each savory bite just melts in your mouth. One thing is for sure – they know how to cook scallops here.
We also loved the new pumpkin ravioli small plate ($13) – don’t knock the pumpkin if initially it throws you off. Just the right blend of sweet and savory, this plate also comes in a perfect brown butter sauce – obviously we couldn’t get enough of that – topped with fried sage, pumpkin seeds, and freshly shaved Pecorino Romano.
But it’s no surprise that the traditional cassoulet ($28), a staple of Southern French cuisine, is a patron fan favorite. As a home-cooked cassoulet dabbler, it’s difficult to wrestle up the confidence to cook it again after trying Chef Kearney’s dish. She skips no steps in the lengthy process it takes to make a true cassoulet, and it delivers: The crispy confit duck leg, garlic sausage, and chunks of bacon lardons bring so much flavor, texture, and yes, fat – but the best kind of fat! – to the homey white bean stew. It’s the perfect stew for frigid weather.
If there’s room for dessert, we recommend the French chocolate gelato dish ($6.75): The brandy caramel swirl gives the two scoops of decadent chocolate a texture that you wouldn’t normally expect from gelato, and of course, chocolate and caramel pair together so beautifully. A slight crunch from the chocolate ganache chips and a delicious honey madeleine round out the dessert, perfect to split between two diners.
We left the restaurant perfectly satiated, yet hungry to plan our next visit to Rue Dumaine. For future diners, we can only say, Bon appétit.
Want to go?
WHAT: Rue Dumaine
WHERE: 1061 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd., Dayton
HOURS: Dinner served 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; lunch served 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday
INFO: (937) 610-1061 | ruedumainerestaurant.com | Facebook | Twitter