I'm a frequent traveler to New Orleans and when I read in Saveur that Anne Kearney (Peristyle) had opened Rue Dumaine outside Dayton, I decided to work it into a business trip. It's the best meal I've had in recent weeks, and definitely worth a trip if you're in Dayton or Cincinnati. Don't be put off by the surroundings: it's set in a strip mall next to a Chipotle and a Cold Stone. Inside, you would think you were in a big-city restaurant.
I started with La Petite Cuisine, which is a sort of homage to Oysters Rockefeller, except that it's not baked. It's a sort of oyster stew with poached oysters, bacon, spinach, in what they bill as a veloute but which is more like a creamy broth. It's infused with Pernod, thyme and tarragon and it's easily one of the best things I've ever eaten.
Moving on to the Dumaine salad, which changes with the seasons. It had fresh strawberries, pine nuts and a balsamic vinaigrette. Very fresh taste. The bread served with it came from Dorothy Lane Market and it's definitely a nice accompaniment.
I had trout amandine for a main, which was perfectly cooked, nothing too flashy or sauced up, just good plain cooking. And for dessert, strawberry rhubarb crisp.
I ate at the bar although it would have been easy to get a table over the holiday weekend. The wine pairings were perfect and the bartenders know as much about the food as the wine. The bill with two full glasses plus tastes of a bunch of others was about $58. (Dayton is obviously not New York or Chicago.)
Chef was not there: she was visiting Nola, but everyone bade me to come back when she is because apparently the liveliness notches upward when she's in the house.
1061 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Centerville, OH 45459