Tuesday, February 23, 2016

La Bourse et la Vie


La Bourse et la Vie
David, 23 Feb 

When Daniel Rose opened his first restaurant, Spring, it was a small, seasonally driven restaurant on an unremarkable street in the 9th arrondissement. Word quickly spread about the talented chef, who helped fuel a revolution of younger chefs in Paris cooking creatively, most of it French-inspired, but with an additional focus on sourcing the finest seasonal fruits, vegetables, fish and meats.
As an American, Daniel didn’t have fixed ideas about how things should be, and used ingredients that were decidedly French – part of a now full-blown movement in Paris amongst a younger generation of chefs, who are putting more vegetables forward on their menus, accenting plates with unexpected seasonings, using less sauces, and lightening up plates, which eventually became part of an international conversation about the current and future state of French cuisine.
Most of these smaller places are packed, but Daniel made a big move and took Spring to another neighborhood, offering more intricate menus than he had been making before. (He is also re-opening the nearby Chez La Vieille in Paris, and opening another in New York.) Spring restaurant had been a success in its spiffier incarnation, but Daniel Rose decided to take a look back at classic French bistro cooking in his new place, applying the same insistence he’s known for in his other restaurant, on the quality of ingredients and careful preparation of the iconic dishes that many of us know and love. It’s obvious on the menu, and on the plates, that Chef Rose has a deep affection for them too.
I’ve had a couple of meals at La Bourse et La Vie, a name which is a riff on the expression, “Your wallet or your life.” (Readers of The Sweet Life in Paris will recall my confusion over le bourse, which also means scrotum in French.) And I would certainly give up either (although I will hold on to my own bourse, thank you very much…) for another one of the marvelous gougères brought to the table shortly after you sit down. The golden brown, crispy cheese puffs are huge, like the ones you get at bakeries in Chablis. They arrive sliced in half, which is a good thing, because if I had my own, I would probably not had room for dinner afterwards.
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