It’s Spring in Paris – And It’s Only December

Paris is lucky to have American Chef Daniel Rose cooking up a storm in the city of lights.
By Mitch Weinstein

You might think it weird that one of the finer chefs in Paris is an American…even though we Americans don’t think it’s weird that some of the finest chefs in America have foreign backgrounds as well.

Which brings me to the restaurant Spring. Spring has been ensconced in its fancy 1st Arrondisement address, just off the rue St. Honore, for a couple of years; before that, it was in the less fancy 9th, and that’s where Significant Eater and I first tasted Chef Daniel Rose’s food. Back then, it was an inexpensive 3-course lunch, fairly simple, yet delicious; but you also knew that beneath that simplicity lurked the mind of a chef who knew how to both honor the ingredients he was blessed to work with, and to celebrate them as well.
Neither of us will forget the soup we had back then – thinly sliced raw scallops, nestled in the bottom of a soup bowl with a brunoise of seasonal vegetables, all of it just cooked by the heat of the broth that was then poured over tableside.

Fast forward four years, and we won’t forget the soup we had at lunch last week; a number of country-cut vegetables and a dice of fine ham, warmed by the steaming onion “nage” poured over tableside. This was no ordinary “nage,” but more like what a perfect French onion soup tastes like, yet the clearest consomme with the deepest flavor imaginable…wow. It didn’t hurt that the garnish included charred baby leek leaves, as it appears Daniel really likes to work with all the different of the onion family, to fine effect…

Spring’s onion soup

And then, because chef likes to play with his food, he brought us over the salad course – soup and salad, you see. Only he served this salad of frisee in a bowl made of the most perfectly fried, whole boned fish (merlan) we’d ever tasted. You can see the “brains” of the fish, but they’re just a grapefruit gelee. The out-of-this-world tartar sauce was hiding under the salad, and Sig Eater and I devoured every bit…

Spring’s salad and fish fry

Oh, I forgot – the soup came after the amuse course, simply 4 small plates of goodies. I don’t take notes (radishes with blowfish, butter from Normandy, smoked eel with pickled red onions, apples and creme fraiche and mushrooms with wheat kernels), but…

Spring’s amuse course

After the amuse, soup and salad, the main course was perfectly cooked pigeon, served with (iirc) celeriac puree topped with crushed coffee (strangely, it worked), a roasted pear and pigeon jus…

Spring’s pigeon

Not fully sated, we had our choice: cheese or go straight to dessert? Of course we chose cheese – 4 superb samples from the giant display. Because what better way to prepare for sweets? For dessert, we enjoyed a fine Greek yogurt sorbet (that’s a yogurt skin crisp on top), truffles, and more…

Spring’s dessert

An American in Paris? You bet. And when his food is as delicious as this, Paris is lucky. Go – if you get lucky, Daniel will be playing with his food.

Spring Restaurant
6, rue Bailleul

Mitch Weinstein

Mitch Weinstein

Mitch Weinstein is an avid seeker of good food, culinary school grad and writer of the blog Tasty Travails. When not cooking at home, he is on the hunt for that next delicious restaurant meal, great market or maybe even a cocktail. He regularly contributes to the food and drink forums on mouthfulsfood.com, eGullet.org, Chowhound.com and others.

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