On my most recent visit to Paris last fall, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting up with some friends from home who were also visiting the City of Lights. Luckily for me, this group of friends wasn’t an ordinary group. I was, in fact, gallivanting along the Seine with some of my favorite “foodie” friends. When traveling to a megacity like Paris, you are surely in great company if your travel companions are culture & history buffs, fashionistas/-os, or – of course – “foodies.”
There are restaurants in every nook and cranny of the city. Each arrondissement can boast someplace special –from inexpensive bites to world class wine, from gastronomic art to a classic patisserie, from roadside stands selling take-away crêpes and pommes frites… there is truly something for everyone.
One of the most memorable meals of my visit came from a place whose chef is actually an American. In most cases, and especially for the Parisian set who deem non-Francophone chefs as inferior, this could be seen as an oxymoron. But Daniel Rose is no oxymoron in any shape or form. The Wilmette, Illinois native has been creating some of the city’s most outstanding food experiences since 2006. Rose made his way to France via collegiate studies at the American University of Paris. He then spent some time honing his skills in Lyon and in Brussels before opening restaurant Spring in 2006. In 2010, he moved Spring to the first arrondissement –just a hop and a skip away from The Louvre.
The experience at Spring is nothing short of amazing. Dinner (and lunch on certain days) is served as “prix fixe” with no ‘carte’ or menu. The encounter is simple: you are served your four courses in succession – a careful meal curated by Chef Rose and his team. There are sometimes optional cheese courses available, and there is an extensive wine menu –though Spring’s sommeliers are more than willing to make a meaningful wine choice for you. Chef Rose creates menus inspired by the French tradition, and relies heavily on an inventiveness stemming from the classic French marketplace. Fresh vegetables, seafood and local meats are meticulously paired with herbs and spices that enhance the natural flavors, and each meal is prepared carefully with much attention to detail.
My friends and I had lunch reservations after spending a morning fighting through crowds in The Louvre. We were treated to many amazing dishes – from Galician ham served with green chili, a fried cauliflower dish, and venison served with roasted pears… and for dessert, an extremely memorable dish of roasted figs with port. The wine, too, flowed all throughout. A nice cabernet was paired perfectly with the venison and figs.
The restaurant itself is cozy, and nestled along a quiet street not far from the busy thoroughfares that run alongside one of the walls of The Louvre. The space was previously an abandoned skateboard shop, which Rose spent two years renovating. While the restaurant is small, it accommodates a steady stream of guests –many of whom vie for tables on the main floor, offering views of the open kitchen to watch the staff busy at work.
The fun tidbit about our visit was that there was a lot of English being spoken by the restaurant patrons. Americans, Brits, Aussies and other English-speakers were on hand to take in the experience. Many were tourists who have heard about the restaurant through the foodie grapevine, while others were clearly business travelers amidst a spattering of locals. Chef Rose’s clear hope is that the draw is not the fact that he is an American by birth, but that the food is what’s calling the masses to Spring.
Truth is, the curious are still making their way over to the little restaurant just a short walk from the Rue de Rivoli. And while the food will always be the main draw, there is no doubt that many will make their way to Spring for not a Rose by any other name but ‘Daniel.’
You can find a nice interview with Chef Daniel Rose by Wendy Lyn of “The Paris Kitchen” here.
6 Rue Bailleul
75001 Paris, France
+33 1 45 96 05 72