For Mother’s Day I took my mother and my godmother to La Fourchette. Located at 432 King Street in downtown Charleston, S.C., this bistro is my new favorite spot for authentically prepared French food. Seemingly, every menu item is delicious. If you want your mother to love you take her to this restaurant.
La Fourchette is by no means a large restaurant. In fact, it’s quite small and I like it. There’s an unequivocal connection between the table, the wait staff and the kitchen this way– it’s all very intimate. You know when the kitchen is frying duck-fat fries.
To start, we ordered two appetizers. Both of our selections were specials that evening; a duck liver pâté served with crisp French bread and homemade preserves and sautéed sweetbreads. The pâté, as it ought to be, was undeniably creamy. The sweetness of the homemade preserves and the crunch of the toasted French bread complimented the pâté’s inherent richness allowing you to eat every bite without feeling over-indulgent.
La Fourchette’s sweetbreads were an exemplum of the ingenuity and hallmark balance true French cooking exhibits. Leave it to the French to take an otherwise useless “leftover” and turn it into a savory and phenomenal item. Served with a cream sauce and sautéed spinach hinted with lemon, the perfectly panfried sweetbreads were by far my favorite of the two appetizers. This needs to be a permanent fixture on La Fourchette’s menu.
For the main event the three of us chose very differently. My mother, true to form, ordered mussels. These phenomenally large bivalves tasted of the ocean were perfectly cooked and perfumed with white wine.
I ordered Le Steak Frites Salade: a refreshing side salad of butter lettuce (my favorite!) in a lemon vinaigrette, duck-fat French fries (oh, honey) and medium rare hanger steak dripping with garlicky butter. Délicieux!
My godmother ordered the highlight of the meal. If you go to La Fourchette you simply must order the Vélouté de Tomate au Romarin (chilled tomato and rosemary soup with cucumbers). It is absolutely jaw-droppingly good and yet mind-numbingly simple. This soup is one of those fabulous creations you wish you could replicate (and due to its identifiable flavor profile you feel you could) but know your version will never quite live up to the valor of the original. This is better than any gazpacho you have ever had. I don’t have a photo, but that’s because we all dove right in and gulped this masterpiece down.
In addition to her chilled tomato soup, my godmother (en français: ma marraine) ordered Les Crevettes et Coquilles à la Nage et Pistou (shrimp and scallops in a light broth with French pesto, provençal tomatoes, puff pastry and asparagus), which was light and perfect for a hot day.
I’ll definitely be returning to La Fourchette. This place is fantastic. Although for the restaurant’s size I recommend reservations.