Branching out from the Columbus restaurant scene, I recently had a wonderful dinner at Rue Dumaine in Dayton. By sheer coincidence my friend Andrew was there on the same night and posted a review that echoed most of my sentiments, before I could even say ‘I’m a lapsed blogger’.
Opened at the end of 2007, Rue Dumaine is the domain of chef Anne Kearney, who was previously at Peristyle in New Orleans, where she won a James Beard regional award. Her new venture in her hometown Dayton is a French Bistro, which seems somewhat out of place in a suburban strip mall.
My favorite dish of the evening was an appetizer of oysters in a pernod infused velouté with spinach, leeks and applewood smoked bacon. Of course, it is hard to go wrong with smoked bacon, but the flavors worked very well together and it was the sort of dish that left you wanting more.
Many French bistro staples were on the menu, including steak frites, frogs legs and moules. There are also some interesting touches including a house made charcuterie of the day. The daily specials change weekly and there is an occasional touch of Kearney’s time spent in the South.
The Steak, in this case a hangar steak was excellent, as were the fries and that was probably the most popular of the main courses that we sampled. The mussels were a little disappointing, both the mussels themselves and the sauce which was a little bland.
One of the signature dishes is an appetizer of duck rillette crepes with red onion marmalade and Pinot Noir gastrique. Interesting and crunchy the crepes themselves hit the spot but the gastrique was a little too vinegary.
Desserts generally were a highlight with a flawlessly executed crème brûlée and a superb hazelnut honeycomb which accompanied the chocolate hazelnut cake. The cake had a somewhat grainy texture from the ground hazelnuts but the flavor was very good. I chose an apple and tarragon sorbet which sounded interesting but I could barely taste the tarragon. Rue Dumaine also has an excellent cheese selection which I was tempted by although sadly it does not contain any Ohio cheeses.
The service was exceptional and the food definitely well above average, and of good if not exceptional value. I would definitely recommend visiting Rue Dumaine if you find yourself in Dayton. Interestingly, there isn’t anything equivalent in Columbus, which hadn’t occurred to me before. Surprising because it is such a ubiquitous concept in the UK.