Spring Restaurant

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Pigeon with sweetbreads, girolles and cucumbers.

Spring Restaurant
6, rue Bailleul, in the 1st Arrondissement.
01 45 96 05 72.
Dinner, Tues–Sat; lunch, Wed–Sat.

In high summer, Spring has sprung.

Has sprung again, I should say; this is the second incarnation of Daniel Rose’s much-lauded restaurant in the 9th, open at long last.

A fantastic renovation has left original architectural details of the 16th century space in place, protected but visible thanks to clever and beautiful use of glass to cover exposed beams and stone walls, and to encase a risky old stairway. A huge plate-glass window swings out to the street. The open stainless steel kitchen is the centerpiece, dominating the roughly 22-seat dining room. There you can watch Daniel, cochef Marie-Aude Mery and their small staff at work.

Your meal there will not be the same as mine, though it will be the same as your neighbor’s. The unique 64 euro menu changes daily according to whim and what products are available.

We settled in with champagne and a plate of melon with cured pork loin, ready to get down to business.

On this night there was eggplant, showing off its versatility as a crisp croquette, a quenelle of caviar, a deeply caramelized confit and, most surprising, a lightly pickled wedge that half the table mistook for a tomato. Smoked eel lent salt and depth to the menagerie.

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Eggplant four ways, smoked eel.

Next, tuna two ways: over sweet, delicately smoked tomatoes, accompanied by a tender morsel enrobed in ashes of leeks—a Catalonian riff on old Paris. A single well-seasoned prawn completed the plate. Pigeon followed, mingling with sweetbreads on a bed of girolles and spears of cucumber (a vegetable rarely eaten any way but raw), its flavor concentrated by cooking.

We enjoyed a fantastic cheese plate of Ossau Iraty, cratered cantal and oozy Brie. We finished with a series of sweet dishes: an apricot floating in a verbena broth with red currants and mint; a plate of cherries sautéed with fresh almonds; and a deconstructed lemon tart. These are what I think of as “cooks’ desserts,” dispensing with classic pastry forms and focusing first and foremost on flavor.

Lunch is different, built around a daily bouillon—a nod to the earliest Paris restaurants and, specifically, to nearby Les Halles. Chicken or pigeon and pristine vegetables get their turn in the savory bath, and small plates round out the offerings.

The thoughtful wine list is made up of bottles from small producers practicing organic or biodynamic winemaking, from la belle France but also Italy, Germany and Austria. Prices range from the reasonable sub–30 euro mark to, well, whatever you’d like to spend.

Speaking of wine, in September a wine bar will open on the lower level. Something tells me I’ll be spending a lot of time there.

If you want to eat upstairs, though, stop reading this and book immediately.

In a nutshell: It seems that Daniel Rose has done it again.

Price check: The multicourse dinner menu is 64 euros; lunch bouillon, 23 euros.

If Spring appeals but . . . but what? Book now.

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