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Report on New Spring? Someone? Please?

How was the 'soft opening'? We know you're out there.

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  1. In a few days Mangeur and we're (none of us who aren't Suntory connected) not invited. My totally uninformed guess is that after that feast, he'll not open to the public for a while until all the new folks (see his website) are familiar with the space, eqpt, etc. When I was there a few days ago, the frigo was working but the metal counters were pristine and unencumbered. On verra.

    1. OK. As of next week, Spring is sprung.
      The prices and days open for dinner and lunches are still to be determined but it will be there.
      Four of us had a superb lunch today (July 9th) at what was made clear to us was a work in progress and we indeed did work, serving as a focus group generously compensated with aged Banyuls and ginger eau de vie.
      Pix are at http://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a0...

      29 Replies
      1. re: John Talbott

        Thanks. Do you know if they are taking reservations now for say, the beginning of September?

        1. re: Nancy S.

          I do not know.
          But the number I gave is incorrect; you must go to the Boutique at present.

        2. re: John Talbott

          Let me correct my post which had an incorrect telephone number and ask the moderators to let this replace it:

          OK. As of next week, Spring is sprung.
          The prices and days open for dinner and lunches are still to be determined but it will be there.
          Four of us had a superb lunch today (July 9th) at what was made clear to us was a work in progress and we indeed did work, serving as a focus group generously compensated with aged Banyuls and ginger eau de vie.
          For rez go to the Spring Boutique.
          Pix are at http://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a0...

          1. re: John Talbott

            Just wanted to add however, not to call the boutique as Josh is not the person handling reservations and told me they are not taking reservations by phone at the boutique.

            1. re: Phyllis Flick

              So, as usual: don't bother those guys, admire them, and thank the lord that you might some day share their divine presence.

              I hate Spring.

              1. re: souphie

                Sorry I think I gave the wrong impression. I called the boutique last week to find out about making reservations and was told—nicely I should add— that they would start taking reservations at the restaurant as soon as their phone was up and working (which would be very soon). There was no attitude whatsoever. The only reason they weren’t taking reservations when I called is because they were not actually open yet.

                1. re: souphie

                  Why souphie? I definitely don't have your experience with Paris and its multitude of restaurants and I respect your opinions very much, but I have been to Spring twice and taken a cooking class with Daniel and have always found him to be very humble. The overall attitude I get from him is he really wants to please his customers and he tries to ensure his diners are enjoying what he makes them. I've seen how happy he is when people say they enjoyed his dishes, his eyes actually light up. I've never gotten the sense that he thinks he is better than anyone, least of all those who dine at his place. I don't think it's his fault that there is a huge demand for the limited spaces at Spring but I also don't think he takes advantage of that demand to gloat. Actually, he has told us that he wishes he could serve more people and that he hates turning anyone away, especially Parisians, and I think that was one of the biggest motivating factors to moving to bigger quarters. I really hope we can experience his brilliance once again in the fall!

                  Jo

                  1. re: parisjo

                    I agree completely. He has charm and humility. I hope that I can have dinner at his place in September as well.

                    1. re: parisjo

                      The last thing I want to do is bash other people's pleasure. I'm glad it works for you guys and so many others. My sense is still that Spring is all about Daniel Rose being happy, and I don't care enough about that to fight for a table or pay for his food. Hopefully someday something will happen that will change my mind.

                      1. re: souphie

                        "My sense is still that Spring is all about Daniel Rose being happy, and I don't care enough about that to fight for a table or pay for his food. Hopefully someday something will happen that will change my mind."

                        OK, Soup, here's another mano-a-mano with me since we have such clear differences. You wear the blond wig and I'll shave my beard off (which will startle anyone who's known me since 1968 in Chicago at the DNC).

                        As for Phyllis "Just wanted to add however, not to call the boutique as Josh is not the person handling reservations and told me they are not taking reservations by phone at the boutique." Their phone at the resto is TMK not yet working, my advice for a while has been to drop by the Boutique, chat them up, buy some stuff for dinner, see if Sofian' is there (I never said Josh) and/or go to the resto 20 meters away and deal.

                        Regarding "I don't think it's his fault that there is a huge demand for the limited spaces at Spring but I also don't think he takes advantage of that demand to gloat." The informal focus group Friday felt, if anything, the speculated prices in his head were too 'umble.

                        We, the cyber-readers, not DR's ego, have created the press for seats - bless him for responding by opening up more classic Spring dinner seats and bar stools at nite, a unique lunch concept (the bouillon plus small plates) at lunch, the downstair's bar/tapas/"let's jam" space and the spectacular wine cellar one floor yet again.

                        Can we return to discussing his food not ego or telephone numbers?

                    2. re: souphie

                      Strange. Daniel Rose appears to me as one of the least ego-driven chefs I have ever known, furthermore serving one of least self-conscious cuisines I have ever seen in a restaurant. There is absolutely no attitude in DR or anyone in his team. And the food is miles away from any narcissistic self-expression as we have sometimes noticed elsewhere. It is just real food, very simply and cleverly prepared. So what is the problem?

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        I think the only problem for most is not being able to get in and taste Daniel's brilliance! :)

                        Jo

                        1. re: parisjo

                          I was able to get in and did not taste Daniel's brilliance. Also, my overall problem, is that I don't like to be told how I should eat. Or how I should behave in anyway,

                          1. re: souphie

                            I found DR very unassuming and thoroughly enjoyed his cooking, but I understand Souphie's point in so far as having to submit to a no-choice dinner. This is hardly a problem for me as I am an omnivore, but Ms. L. has a more discriminating palate and is very reluctant to visit places like Spring 1, Bigarrade, etc. It appears DR has remedied this objection at Spring 2.
                            What I find more objectionable is the difficulty in reserving for when I would prefer to dine at hyper-popular places...Spring, l'Astrance, Comptoir du Relais...

                            1. re: Laidback

                              I cannot guarantee that "It appears DR has remedied this objection at Spring 2." because my understanding is that at dinner it will be l;ike the old Spring but at lunch it will be the bouillon plus thing and there will be choices downstairs at the bar/etc as well.

                          2. re: parisjo

                            Jo, my guess is that you inadvertently hit the nail on the head. I ate at Spring I a few times and had good meals, although the first one was a very long 8:30 to 11:30 as the format means service goes at the pace of the room. DR also seems like a really nice person with some talent so I wish him well.

                            But, I can't help think that the hype around his "brilliance" has more to do with the Paris US expat community than the relative virtues of Spring II when compared to what else is on offer in Paris. Is the local food media also salivating in anticipation over Spring II?

                            I am certain it will be a fine restaurant, but only time will tell if it will live up too expectations and whether it is real brilliance. I also understand that it will be bigger, the original Spring was so tiny only an elite group of diners got to try it. It will also be interesting to see how it's reputation fares once a broader community can more easily try it.

                            1. re: PhilD

                              Phil, DR gets very good reviews from the French press. But it is true that at any given time most of the diners are non-French. I suspect this has to do with the fact that most of my French friends find it irritating as hell having to reserve months in advance.

                              1. re: Parigi

                                Paris By Mouth has announced that Spring is opening tomorrow and that reservations can be made at the boutique! Lots of contradictory information going around, I just want to make my reservation for the fall, sob, sob!

                                I'll keep trying..................Jo

                                1. re: parisjo

                                  I'm in the same position. I'm not sure what to do. Have you tried to call the boutique?

                                  1. re: Nancy S.

                                    No, I've been calling the number of the restaurant that was posted by Alexander Loubrano. I didn't want to call the boutique after being told not to by Phyllis, I can imagine how busy they must be trying to get the restaurant opened and dealing with everyone (like me) desperate to get a reservation. I may try the boutique number tomorrow if I can't get through on the other number.

                                    Just read the French write up on Paris by Mouth from Chrisoscope and my mouth is watering.

                                    I'm also trying to get reservations for Frenchie, Regalade St Honore and JCD for our trip. No luck at Frenchies so far and RSH told me to call back in August. I'll also wait until then to try for JCD. We have our reservation for hubby's 50th at La Grande Cascade and I'm hoping Nomiya will still be open when we are there. We've also got Fish, Le Reminet, Le Baratin, Le Vieux Comptoir and Les Papilles on our list, but I'll probably just call them once I'm in Paris.

                                    My trips to Paris have become all about the food these days, but I'm accepted my weakness and am learning to embrace it, lol.

                                    Jo

                                    1. re: parisjo

                                      Whhen you are going? I'm in Paris early Oct, and interested in some of the same places, especially La Regalade and Frenchie. I'm curious when to try for them, if they are closed in August.

                                      1. re: Olive74

                                        We'll be in Paris from September 24 to October 10. I've been 4 times in the spring and this is our first fall visit, I'm looking forward to trying food from another season.

                                        1. re: parisjo

                                          I was in Paris last year at that time. It's my favorite. This year, because of our schedule, and coordinating our Paris visit with our Copenhagen trip (to return to Noma), we will be in Paris for the first week of Sept. Frenchie and La Bigarrade will be closed then, sadly. My last meal at Frenchie was excellent, and I have not yet been able to reserve at La Bigarrade. We will go to La Regalade, Le Chateaubriand, Passage 53, Claude Calliot, L'Agape and Breizh Cafe (on a Sunday) this time. Still, I'm hope to add Spring

                                          1. re: parisjo

                                            I've been in Sept and had lovely weather. I was supposed to be there July 4 weekend, and had to cancel. I've consoled myself with the idea of better weather and fall foods in October. I'm there 7th - 10th.
                                            I guess I'll wait with Regalade reservations until August, thank you for the info.

                                          2. re: Olive74

                                            Frenchie is taking reservations for October. I made one for mid-October last friday.

                                          3. re: parisjo

                                            Sorry Parisjo, apparently things have changed since I called last week and they are talking reservations at the boutique until the phone is hooked up, so go ahead :) I've even double checked to be sure this is the case, so no worries. Sorry for any misinformation. They are officially open as of tonight.

                                            1. re: Phyllis Flick

                                              Thanks Phyllis, I didn't want to bug them but if you say it's ok.......I'll try at lunchtime.

                                              John, I know that my trip to Paris won't be ruined if I don't get into Spring and I know there's lots more great restaurants in Paris. We really enjoyed Spring during our last 2 trips and hope we can enjoy it once more. We loved talking with Daniel and getting to know him, especially during our cooking class and I'd love to see him again during this trip. I know that if I don't book soon, Spring will probably be all booked up during our time in Paris and that is why I'm trying to get in now. Since my time in Paris is so short, I don't have the luxury of waiting until later if I don't reserve now, like most Parisians would. Sorry if I'm coming off as an obsessed lunatic :), I'm really not in real life!

                                              Thanks for your recommendations, they're being added to my list. I love your blog, you are too cool!

                                              Jo (maybe I'll take you up on that offer to reserve if I can't get through, are you offering a discount for Chowhounders? :)

                                              1. re: parisjo

                                                "(maybe I'll take you up on that offer to reserve if I can't get through, are you offering a discount for Chowhounders? :)"
                                                The same discount that Ryanair gives for baggage.

                                          4. re: Nancy S.

                                            Hey guys get a grip on it.

                                            Facts:
                                            1. the France Tele folk cannot get their act(s) together so as of my last intel the phone at the resto is not functional;
                                            2. My great love Phyllis/Felice wanted to stop Josh at the Boutique from getting flooded with calls and called for a cessation of fire but calling Sofian' there is still effective, albeit the last refuge of a scoundrel;
                                            3. I'm seriously thinking of setting up a new business that involves giving you all my private phone number and charging a reservation fee, how does 100E sound?;
                                            4. Daniel 1 (from Chi) to distinguish him from Daniel 2 (from East Harlem) never thought he'd be so popular despite advice from the likes of some bloggers who estimated that the line out the street would stretch to the Louvre.

                                            Lies, rumors and videotape:
                                            1. Alain Fusion had not eaten there as of Friday,
                                            2. There's no place left to eat in Paris now that Spring, Frenchie, Bigarrade, l'Agrume, etc are fully booked.
                                            3. You're gonna starve.

                                            Please folks, much as I love(d) the old Spring, Table 28, the Boutique, etc, there's a world of food out there; the NYT and Restaurant Mag said Fat Duck & El Bulli were better; now it's Noma; go South or North young man; go around the corner to Chez Grenouille or l'Agape: expand your horizons - go to Yamachita, the Loire, Ze or KGB; all is not lost if you don't eat at Spring in its first 90 days.

                                            I'd rec:
                                            Le Regalade St Honore
                                            Le Concert de Cuisine
                                            Le P’tit Caillou
                                            Le Bistro Volnay
                                            & Chalbens

                        2. Spring is open! Enjoyed a delicious lunch there yesterday. Phone lines not yet working so call the Boutique or stop by to get a reservation.
                          The food was delicious. We had two small plates; eggplant with salted fish and shrimp and fennel. Both were fresh, delicious and expertly prepared. We followed that with chicken bouillon - so flavorful and perfectly cooked, with carrots, onions and artichokes. Great desserts including apricot clafouti and raspberries in verbena and almond broth. Great wine for each course. Our waiter was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. Absolutely fabulous experience. Looking forward to returning for dinner. Thanks to Chowhound, John et all for the recommendation.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: miami1012

                            Yeah, got my reservation for October! The person on the phone at the boutique could not have been nicer or more gracious. Guess I won't need your booking services after all, John. :)

                            Jo

                            1. re: parisjo

                              A warning to all, however; the phone at the boutique is already overloaded as it was at 29 Tour d'Auv. after a year. I've taken to dropping by (and buying some stuff as well) here and at Frenchie.

                            2. re: miami1012

                              Thanks for the report!

                              We just got our reservations for a September lunch through the Spring Boutique phone as suggested by Paris by Mouth website. The person on the phone was truly very gracious and nice. We can't wait!

                              Could you give us an idea of the pricing for the lunch menu? I see that they have bouillon garni for 23 Euros, but what about the small plates?

                              Thanks so much!!!

                              1. re: midorimonsta

                                "Could you give us an idea of the pricing for the lunch menu? I see that they have bouillon garni for 23 Euros, but what about the small plates?"
                                Yah, the bouillon with chicken was/is 23 or if you want pigeon (Daniel's is divine) it's about 10 more; the small plates which we had more of than we needed, run 6 or 7 each (he hadn't set the prices the day we were there).

                            3. Our recommendation on Paris by Mouth that people call Spring Boutique to reserve (before the restaurant's phone line is installed) came directly from Josh at Spring Boutique (who usually passes the phone to Sofian for reservations. I confirmed this separately with Daniel Rose.

                              That's not to say they're not overwhelmed, but this is their advice for the moment. I tried calling once or twice without getting an answer (I'm sure that phone is ringing off the hook), but they were very cheerful once I got through.

                              I'm eating there tonight and will be sure to report back!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: megzimbeck

                                I called yesterday and got through to the boutique immediately. I think they finally have their ducks in a row and stories straight. FWIW, I called around 5pm Paris time.

                              2. So I suppose it isn't fair how I, an American tourist with no insider connections whatsoever, simply waltzed into Spring Boutique last Saturday, inquired about the restaurant opening, and was told to leave my number for a table on Tuesday evening for dinner, which was confirmed shortly thereafter. Lucky me! My impressions of the meal were quite favorable, a five-course degustation focused on comparatively simple preparation of well-chosen ingredients executed with great care and inventiveness. On a hot evening I was very grateful for the focus on bouillion and the lighter side of Mediterranean cuisine--cantaloupe with prosciutto, lime, and mint; shrimp in a tomato "water" buillion; an outstanding artichoke heart stuffed with anchovy, green olive, and garlic puree; a pairing of breaded chicken (sweet) with mackerel (briny)--yes, the flavor could make you think you could feel the sea-splash as you bit (or maybe it was the combination of the heat and all that wine I was drinking); and a dessert of apricot cafloute, paired with the jus of (simmered?) apricot pits.. I admire Daniel's willingness to take risks, his open-kitchen approach, his humility and passion for the cuisine, his desire for extracting the flavor potential from each menu item (as opposed to hiding the cuisine in cloying sauces or fancy foams). The wine selections were thoughtful and the price points moderate. Daniel and his staff's enthusiasm for their work is infectious--haute cuisine without the starched linen and severe waitstaff. They know how to have fun, and they invite their patrons to join them. For one overly warm evening, I was delighted to join them.

                                16 Replies
                                1. re: 280 Ninth

                                  It was also possible to spot the announcement on Twitter on the afternoon of July 14. They were just opening and had 24 seats available when I called. Dinner was terrific, and heartwarming. Oh by the way it is not true at all that Spring is popular mostly because of US expats. Daniel is considered a Parisian and even French chef in his own right and there are many subtle reasons for that - even if the French food press does not entirely 'get' him (probably for the same mysterious, and I believe slightly unfair, reasons why Souphie does not either). Too bad for them.

                                  1. re: Ptipois

                                    Good point Soph; he had to pay to get into the Fooding event this year in Le Havre was it?; he was neither admitted free nor invited to demonstrate; just invited to come & pay the admission fee.

                                    1. re: John Talbott

                                      I am so out of touch with the food hype that I missed the news of a Fooding event in Le Havre. I can't believe that happened. Out of charity for them I will suppose that they were very disorganized. However - seriously - I can't figure out how Le Fooding would not be honored to have a chef of Daniel's level demonstrate at the event or at least admit him for free. Or perhaps they wouldn't know talent if it leaped into their face screaming?
                                      At the Off Omnivore festival last February in Deauville we did spend a lot of time chatting and rode back to Paris on the train together. He was not invited and was not asked to demonstrate either. Actually we both felt kind of lonely while the 'in' people gathered together. I saw a few demos there by people who do not have the tenth part of Daniel's warmth and creativity.

                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                        Glad to see you back Soph/Pti.
                                        And you are correct, as always, it was OFF not LeF.
                                        Deauville, Le Havre - Iceberg, Greenberg, Goldberg.
                                        We agree; he's an interesting new talent not admitted to the French equivalent of Skull & Bones. Tant pis.

                                        1. re: John Talbott

                                          Oh, so it was the Off Omnivore festival. Well that does not really mean much. He just wasn't in the program — and many chefs weren't. He was not admitted free: many chefs pay to attend that festival. Only journalists and guest chefs who perform there are invited.

                                    2. re: Ptipois

                                      "Oh by the way it is not true at all that Spring is popular mostly because of US expats"

                                      Maybe: but 43 posts on a restaurant that only opened four days ago is interesting. I don't recall seeing so much activity about any other new openings and, for example, I would contrast it to La Régalade Saint-Honoré which had barely a mention before it opened in April and only 28 posts on the comparative thread, IMO Bruno Doucet is in the same league as DR, but gets a lot less attention.

                                      It is good to hear Spring II is living up to expectations, and I will try it on my next visit as I like DR's food. However maybe we need a sense of perspective......

                                      1. re: PhilD

                                        Of course we need a sense of perspective. But I wonder many people can describe the food of Bruno Doucet versus that of DR, or how many people have a sense of BD's presence in the dining room versus DR's in the old Spring. Or how the service differs at LR from SP. This we'll have to check out.

                                        We ate at LR.SH for the first time last week. I thought it was acceptable. My husband prefers not to return, finding the food unexceptional and the service mechanical..

                                        We'll try new Spring in a few weeks.

                                        1. re: mangeur

                                          "how many people have a sense of BD's presence in the dining room versus DR's in the old Spring."
                                          Two points; first, DR is as if not closer to you since the kitchen is not elevated.
                                          Second, the first time I went to BDSH I had no sense of himself, but last time when I was next to a friend well-kown to the house he indeed stick his head though the pass through all the time to chek. Granted a hole is not an open or what my French architect calls "a California kitchen."

                                        2. re: PhilD

                                          But you can't judge the popularity of a Paris restaurant just from the English-language food boards. Paris restaurants, and Spring among them, have a life outside of them. Restaurant-oriented food boards are a very anglophone, and very US, thing. They just do not exist in France. Parisians have other means to spread and find restaurant information. So seeing Spring's success only through the online English-speaking community is misleading.

                                          1. re: Ptipois

                                            "But you can't judge the popularity of a Paris restaurant just from the English-language food boards.
                                            Not at all and did I suggest that?
                                            Spring, Frenchie, Bigarrade, the old Regalade, Comptoir, l'Ami Louis, le Cinq, l'Astrance, etc., and on and on, are largely Anglo-web-hyped.
                                            But because we're the best and most powerful nation in the world (except in football and other sports), we rule. Non? Yogi Berra musta said something on this subject.

                                            1. re: Ptipois

                                              That is exactly my point. Spring has a disproportionate number of comments on this board, that implies that is is proportionally better than other places. I haven't been to Spring II but I would be surprised if it was truly so much better than many other openings this year. I was simply trying to balance the comments by pointing this out.

                                              I have also never doubted Springs qualities, and DR is a very good chef, delivering well priced food. It is good to see he has a such loyal fan base amongst his friends in Paris so I will desist from further comments.

                                              1. re: PhilD

                                                Spring is about the food but it is also about the gestalt, as I tried to point out above. One of its charms is precisely the thing that turns souphie, and probably others, off: the obvious fact that DR is having a good time with his "work in progress". I find it a delight so long as he provides us with a good time while pursuing his. DR also has the most unusual talent for making every diner feel as if he were special. I can't think of another popular chef who either has this knack or takes the time to develop this kind of relationship with his clients.

                                                1. re: mangeur

                                                  Wow, what a great description of Daniel and the relationship he has with his customers. In four trips to Paris, we've been to many restaurants, (mostly) good and (a few) bad, but I've never felt the kinship, for lack of a better word, that I felt with Daniel. He does make everyone feel special and he takes the time to answer any and all questions and you feel like you have gotten to know him. The first time we went, we ended up, along with another couple and a single guy, staying about 30 minutes after the restaurant closed and all others had left and just talking to him about his cooking, his recent trip to Japan (he showed us a video of an octopus getting its head chopped off and its tentacles still moving) the blog I was writing of our time in Paris and many other things. I know this doesn't make him a better chef than anyone else, but it's in addition to preparing great food and serving it in a welcoming, warm atmosphere. It's hard to describe if you haven't been, but by the end of our meal at Spring, you feel like you have eaten (great) food at someone's home. I don't know if the new Spring will have the same feeling, but I can't wait to find out!

                                                  Jo

                                                  1. re: parisjo

                                                    We had the same experience at Table 28. Daniel is charming and a good cook, which is a winning pair. Compared to my experience at Momofuko Ko, where the food was mostly good, but the interaction with the cooks was disappointing (they seemed angry and bored), an experience having dinner at one of Daniel's venues is so satisfying on many levels.

                                                  2. re: mangeur

                                                    Re:"I can't think of another popular chef who either has this knack or takes the time to develop this kind of relationship with his clients"

                                                    Aronia de Takazawa, in Tokyo!

                                        3. I gather:
                                          1. you have not eaten at Spring, and
                                          2. since you say "It's like the proverbial tourist coming to Paris eating at a Bistro and clearly the food is bad, but they say it's good because it's in Paris #1 and it's French food", it has not occurred to you that some tourists have a good palette and some locals do not.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Parigi

                                            Your missing my point! I'm not slamming Spring, in Fact Daniel and his crew and the resto is great. All I'm saying Is, in GENERAL go into a restaurant with an open objective mind. Too easily, people are influenced by all the hype before they even taste the food.

                                          2. Just wanted to report my experience making a reservation. Simply called a month out from the day I would like to go. The gentleman who picked up the phone was very polite in telling me there was no room for the Friday night, but that there a was room for 2 on the Saturday. Boom - booked. Very pleasant experience and the gentleman on the other end of the phone could not have been more gracious.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: CanucksWino

                                              FYI and everybody's, a house guest of ours went by to double check the rez Colette had made for her and (I guess) Josh asked if she was also interested in having a meal right then - and she did. So, whoever upthread said one can find cancellations is correct.

                                            2. Been there twice. Amazing food and service. Not for everyone but worth visiting if you are a serious foodie or in the business.