12, rue Vivienne (2)
Two things are going on in Paris, both impacting on and reflective of this (then) 22 day old restaurant from American chef Daniel Rose of Spring (See 1st Arr.)
Paris is crazy for everything American at the moment. It is evident on the streets of New York and on every flight between Paris and New York: planes full of French tourists of every age. Paris retail stores are branding themselves with a “Brooklyn vibe”. Hamburgers and hamburger spots have become ubiquitous. Bagel stores abound. Stories appear in the English language food press about a spate of new Paris barbeque restaurants. And American chefs cooking French food like Spring, the nearby Verjus and the mini-empire of Frenchie (See 2nd Arr.) are jammed with French and American clients. Some of this may reflect the French economic malaise, but the trend continues. Verjus opened a second spot last year. And now Spring opens a “traditional French bistro” manned by American cooks.
Except a traditional French bistro it is not. In fact, despite a level of hype reminiscent of the opening of Spring itself, it is no better than pleasant and fair. Despite its very small size and an instant reputation of a hot but impossible table, there were tables to spare.
Five or so traditional a la carte starters: three delicious oysters with cream served hot from the broiler, leeks, beet salad, cold mackerel, foie gras.
Plats included a pot au feu specialty, a workman-like steak frites with pepper sauce, skate and duck breast.
Great chocolate mousse among desserts. A giant gougere served for the table at the start.
More than acceptable food, but not special, and no obvious connection to Spring, which with its act now well together continues to turn out 4 distinguished courses, albeit at a very high price, and the chef himself headed for New York.
A young, friendly bilingual woman takes the orders and serves the food.
A la carte and reasonable. Entrees 9€ – 14€, plats 26€ – 28€. Let’s hope this is a work in process, and not the final product.