Who says July is the off-season in Charleston? Now that the Fourth is over, on to the next celebration of independence: Bastille Day. The French not only have a rich culture but their food is rich too. This weekend, you have our permission to indulge in creamy cheeses, red wine, and decadent meats. Oui oui, s'il vous plait.
The biggest event on Saturday has to be the Storming of Fish, a costume party that will begin at Marion Square under the French flag and storm up King Street to Fish Restaurant. There will be can-can girls, French singers, a costume contest, and plenty of cake eating. General manager Jodie Battles says they are changing up the menu to bring guests right to Paris. "This is a complete departure from our typical French-Asian offerings at Fish," she says. "Chef Nico took inspiration from various regions in France to offer simple, classic French dishes, cheese, and charcuterie." Moderately priced meat and cheese plates will be available to nibble on, and guests can also order the full three-course meal with choice of a wine pairing. Some options for the three courses include baked escargot, poulet rouge (a petite chicken that was first bred in France), and beef stroganoff.
Fast and French is running specials all day Saturday. Start your meal with a discounted specialty champagne ($26 a bottle, $6 a glass). The lunch special is a Monte Cristo sandwich, made with gruyere cheese and ham served hot on a croissant with a sweet caramelized au jus. Their lunch specials come with a choice of soup, fruit, and a glass of wine. Saturday evening they are featuring a coq au vin, "a traditional French stew chicken dish," says co-owner Jennifer Brener, made with red wine, chocolate, prunes, and chicken. "It's very rich."
39 Rue de Jean Sous Chef Jason Dupree recommends enjoying some of their classic French dishes this weekend. The Pork Chop Brittany, a double-cut pork chop roasted with fresh thyme and olive oil, is served on braised red cabbage and caramelized apples, with a calvados (apple brandy) glaze. The cavatelli pasta comes with seared diver scallops, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, arugula, and a lemon garlic cream sauce.
La Fourchette is offering up a rich terrine foie gras. The fattened goose liver made with cognac is served on a grilled baguette and topped with prune and apricot compote. Chef Kyle Yarbrough is also a fan of the seared duck confit leg. The duck is cooked at a low temperature in duck fat, served with hand-cut fries that are double-fried in duck fat, but don't worry there's also a salad made with Bibb lettuce tossed in a house red wine vinegar. The chef suggests speaking with their sommelier Kevin Kelley to help you pick a red wine from their extensive French wine list to pair with either entrée.