Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 2 Dinner: Spring

Jeeves and I love to eat, as you well know. We have learned from previous trips that it is important to research good places to eat ahead of time, and where possible, get a reservation. When we finally booked our trip to France, we started researching good restaurants that would be open while we were there (and that was a problem in and of itself - a lot of places we wanted to eat were closed for part of August). We also asked people whose foodie opinions we admire where they thought we should eat. Our wedding caterer, the amazing Yen, who has a contagious laugh and a true joie de vivre, lit up when we told her we were going to France. She had just been a few months before, and she immediately told us we had to go to Spring.

It was funny that she should mention Spring - we had both heard of it from this New York Times article. Additionally, it was mentioned in a few other things we had read. Yen said that and one other meal were by far some of the best food she has eaten in awhile, and I can assure you that Yen has exacting standard. I was intrigued - Spring's owner is a Chicago-native and is apparently devoted to cooking with seasonal local ingredients.

So, this is why having a travel agent was a brilliant move on our part - our travel agent took care of a lot of reservations for us, including Spring, which would not give us a reservation over e-mail. It all worked out in the end, thanks to our travel agent Peggy, and we had a 7pm reservation at Spring.

We were one of the earlier tables at this tiny little place, and just as the New York Times' promised, there was owner Daniel Rose standing at the front of the open kitchen bossing around his staff with seriously American accented French.

We ordered the tasting with the wine pairings, which was solely focused on French whites.

Course 1, which I weirdly do not have a picture of, was a trio of dishes - cucumber with peppercorns, Spanish ham with melon, and seaweed butter with bread. The seaweed butter was a little weird, but everything else was excellent.

Course 2: Zucchini blossom stuffed with trout and langoustine, spiced chicken jelly, salad of cucumber, squash, green beans, white beans, and herbs.

This was one of the best things I ate while in France. So subtle, yet so delicious. And the chicken jelly - oy. I wish I had some now to smear on some bread.

Course 3: Heirloom tomatoes with tuna and veal sauce.

The crazy thing about this dish was that the tomatoes were extremely smoky. It complimented the fatty tuna beautifully. Just a really nicely balanced dish, but not quite as good as the stuffed squash blossom.

Course 4: Chicken breast and leg (sous vide/roasted/pan seared) and lobster.

Another victory - and again, one of the best things I ate in France. The chicken was pure perfection - so much so that I asked if it was sous vide, and was told it was a combination of sous vide, roasting, and pan sear. Just perfect. And who doesn't love some perfectly cooked lobster.

Next up - 5 different cheeses. Sadly I did not write down the types, but I did take a picture.

Dessert was stewed blackberries, a deconstructed lemon pie, and a dark chocolate sorbet - all lovely. We were so stuffed.

Service was excellent, and the wine pairings were delicious. We had a truly memorable Alsatian riesling and a once-in-a-lifetime Georges Vernay Condrieu. After dinner, we went for a walk across the street to see the Louvre, lit up for the evening.

Then we went for a long, beautiful walk along the Seine until we reached Notre Dame illuminated. We finished the evening back near our hotel at the Cafe Montparnasse where we had a glass of wine. It was the perfect Parisian evening.

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