Spring in Paris
Chicago native Daniel Rose (who originally came to France intending to study philosophy... more on that later) runs his 16-seat restaurant called Spring almost as some sort of a one-man show.
* * *Well, at least, he goes to the market in the morning, prepares everything during the day, waits for his guests to arrive (everybody's invited at 8:30pm sharp), cooks in the open kitchen and from what I understand, even does small repairs around the place when necessary.
The menu changes daily (usually only slightly, with quantum leaps once every few weeks) and is based on the freshest ingredients from the market. In fact, this was the whole idea - to offer fresh market cuisine at accessible prices (just under 40€) in an atmosphere closely resembling somebody's home. Each item on the menu is based on a single ingredient. So what about picking, choosing and accomodating special preferences? Says Daniel:
I make one menu a night and I don't have anything else to serve you if you don't eat something or other on the menu...There you have it. Just like chez mes parents.
Perhaps even more true to the concept than he realizes, Daniel set up the website for his restaurant as a.. blog. There, we find such beautifully frank passages as this one, for example, revealing some of the chef's incertitudes and fears:
The hardest part about having a restaurant with an open kitchen and working alone is that I can't hide! For the moment this means that the food is probably much more classic than I had anticipated... I'm not ready to take bigger risks with the food. It is already a risk to try to 'create' new dishes everyday. There is certainly no time to 'invent' new techniques and no possibility for errors...Or this one, on success:
Last night I overheard the word 'salty' while I was serving another table... Of course, I interpreted this to mean that his salad (Rabbit with Olives from Lucques) was overseasoned... For a moment I was a wreck... I hesitated... I re-tasted... Seemed all right... Then I asked. Of course it was the opposite... He was happy to have a properly seasoned salad! I better learn how to better filter the signals and comments of the client or I will surely drive myself crazy!
I had imagined a very long period of calm before things started rolling. Even in my imagination I had not imagined weeks quite like the one I just had.Speaking of success, it's been more than a year of Springtime in Paris (ok, the pun could be better) and voilà some of Daniel's hard-earned distinctions:
Four weeks in and most nights I am full. So much for a soft start.
- "Meilleur improbable" (2006, Figaroscope)
- "Meilleur 1 Pièce Cuisine" (2007, Le Fooding)
- "Nouvel Observateur 400 lieux branchés de Paris" (2007, Nouvel Observateur)
P.S. For those who want some details on Daniel himself:
I came here 8 years ago to finish my studies at the American University of Paris thinking it would be an easy way to get a degree and have lots of fun, too. It turned out to be easy because I was having fun, but not as 'effortless' as I had hoped. As a student I learned to eat and drink... Then I learned to cook here.P.P.S. All photos are from Daniel's blog.