Best French Restaurant 

39 Rue de Jean

39 Rue de Jean

Downtown. 39 John St. 722-8881

Ten years ago, 39 John Street -- believe it or not -- was a Houlihan's retaurant that catered to blue-hairs spilling out of tour buses stopping for Calvin Gilmore's Serenade show at Charleston Music Hall. They must have given out coupons or something.

What a difference a decade makes. Today, it's known by its French name -- 39 Rue de Jean -- and it remains Charleston's favorite French restaurant. When Rue opened in 2001, it jump-started the Upper King revival and quickly became a hot place to eat, have drinks, and hang out. In fact, Rue continues to be a favorite, even in the now-crowded King Street scene, where it's been joined by a host of swanky clubs and restaurants competing for that upscale club-goer. Rue is famous for many things -- mussels presented six different ways (pistou is the bomb), fresh sushi (go figure), hand-cut pommes frites, and burgers ground in-house and cooked to your specifications. The onion soup is good, but the potato soup is remarkable -- silky, smooth, rich, yum. Day-of-the-week specials anchor the menu, which is varied, rich, and oh-so-satisfying. Our favorite weekday lunch is the omelet and french fries. Tres chic.


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