August 21, 2011, Author: Lisa, Leave a comment


Categories: Restaurants

I’d put in a full day of work, and I was hungry. We had a reservation for Muse, and I was ready to see how things were faring at this restaurant since my last meal there a couple of years ago. This restaurant was first recommended to me several years ago, by a downtown native, and I’ve been coming periodically ever since. I love the beautiful yet quirky rooms in this restaurant, where it always seems to feel cozy and intimate. I also like how it sits off the “main drag” of the historic district, on relatively quiet Society Street. I had enjoyed Muse’s cuisine in the past, but I’d not been back since Chef Howard LaFour took over earlier this year. Now was my chance to check back in with this old fave.

Richard and I arrived right on time for our reservation. In keeping with what seems to be a trend lately, the first table I was offered was not to my liking. But here at Muse, I was very pleased when the hostess quickly rectified that situation by offering me a variety of other options. She even led us to several table possibilities and let us choose which appealed to us most. I really appreciated this, and I could not have been more pleased with the table we received in the end. I was in a great mood from the start for this meal. Kudos to this wonderful hostess for practicing excellent customer service!

Our table ended up being in a quiet little nook. Muse is in one of those old Charleston houses with lots of character, and this room had character to spare. I soaked it all in as I perused the menu. Oh, lots of good options! Our server, Trevor, quickly arrived and showed lots of personality throughout the evening. He’s fairly new in Charleston (via Connecticut and Portland, Oregon) but is well versed in good food and wine, and he steered us toward excellent choices all evening. We started with an excellent cabernet sauvignon by the glass, recommended by Trevor (name of which I can’t recall – my bad!). Then it was on to starters: Merguez Sausage for Richard, Bibb Lettuce Salad for me. These dishes could not have been more different, but both were stellar. Richard’s sausage was beautifully presented and consisted of a grilled lamb sausage served with red peppers, fennel, radish tzatziki, and harissa. The aroma was heavenly, and Richard said it tasted heavenly (and I’d believe it, at the rate that plate o’ food disappeared!). As for my salad – I do love it when what appears to be a simple salad is elevated to something much more. And this was one of those salads. It sounds so simple: Bibb Lettuce Salad. In actuality, this bibb lettuce combined with gorgonzola cheese, almonds, and rosemary and sherry vinaigrette. The greens were wonderfully fresh, and the combination of flavors was just perfect. As Richard would say, it was a circus in my mouth!

I’ve got to mention something here about bread. While I’m a number one fan of the great Normany Farms Bakery breads served in so many good Charleston restaurants, I also appreciate a restaurant that takes the time to make its own bread. And Muse is one of the latter. Trevor brought us a loaf of hot-from-the-oven bread topped with sesame seeds. This was some fine bread, and the sesame seed topping really made this bread. It was a simple yet extremely flavorful bread with nice, soft interior and crusty texture. Well done!

After some conversation with Trevor (our very fun and interesting server), our entrees arrived. Richard went with the 12 oz. Ribeye with Pickled Mushrooms, Pureed Potatoes, and Asparagus. He said the meal was great. The potatoes caught my eye – they looked very smooth and rich, and Richard said they were especially tasty. I can never resist a gnocchi, and this is my meal of choice at Muse. My gnocchi came with a roasted red pepper ragu with feta cheese. Mmmmmm. This was yummy. I love me a good gnocchi dish, and this was one was right up there among the best that I’ve had. I’m not sure I will ever be able to order anything different at Muse!

And now……..time for dessert. Oh yeah! Trevor brought us the dessert menu, and I asked for a recommendation for a good, rich dessert. Trevor recommended the flourless chocolate cake which came topped with whipped cream. As I pondered that, Richard ordered up gelato and went for 2 scoops of the stout and 1 scoop of the chocolate. I asked Trevor if I could have my flourless chocolate cake topped with gelato instead of whipped cream, and he told me “but of course!” (music to my ears!). I went with the almond gelato. Soon our desserts arrived, and they were lovely. Richard scarfed down his gelatos in no time, and I sat and savored my cake ‘n gelato. This dessert combo was excellent – delicious and smooth almond gelato and a rich, oh-so-chocolatey cake. Mmmmmmm.

I could not have been more pleased with our meal at Muse. It was wonderful from the start – nice table and atmosphere, excellent server, delicious food. We could not ask for more. And we will be back! Thank you, Muse!
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