Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Spring Buvette

Spring was actually never on my list of "must-go" restaurants. When Spring re-opened in July in a new space near Louvre-Rivoli, I'd already read enough about the American-born chef and the previous Spring. A darling of the French-restaurant scene it seemed. But when I read about the menu at the re-incarnated restaurant, I wasn't really that intrigued.

But I am a big fan of the recently (September) opened Spring Buvette, or wine bar that was opened in the basement of the restaurant. The place doesn't take reservations and there are a few communal tables but this is a great way to sample some of the kitchen's food without waiting several months for a reservation, as is the case with Frenchie. 
We decided to go on Thanksgiving because (a) its Thanksgiving and you have to do something and (b) I was secretly hoping that since the chef, Daniel Rose, is an American, he might have something Thanksgiving-y on the menu.

We were in luck (but I think this was purely by accident) as the legume du jour was pumpkin served with a grilled aubergine puree, radish and some baby spinach. We also ordered the abricots farcis which were stuffed with roasted duck necks and a tourte du jour which was veal and foie gras enrobed in puff pastry.

The plat du jour was mutton. I'd never tried mutton before but I like it! It's definitely gamier than lamb but one of the preparations on the plate was almost like pulled pork - shredded, succulent and tender. MMMMM. There was also some kind of root vegetable puree but I couldn't figure out what it was. Although for all I know, coulda been potatoes.
And since it was in fact a wine bar, we also ordered fromages (blue, muenster and saint nectaire) and charcuterie, which included saucisson sec, chorizo bellota and jambon noir de bigorre (yay huge leg of black pig behind the bar! You are mighty tasty). Oh, and can I just mention that skip the Bordier seaweed butter (unless you really like seaweed) and stick to the standard butter, which tastes like cream and is perfect for the never-ending (wheat? rye?) bread that they give (sometimes warm!).

But the best thing that evening was most definitely the wine and the super knowledgeable sommelier who swayed me more than once with his recommendations. A lot of the wines here are either organic or biodynamic. We went first went for a Morgon which was unavailable (have I mentioned how much I love Morgon???) but the sommelier brought us a different bottle, a Morgon Cote du Py from Jean Foillard (2008 I think). It was delicious. We also didn't want to switch wines when we ordered again but we got another red that was a little spicier but also delicious. Totally don't remember what it was called (started with a V) but the sommelier said that it was, like the Morgon, bottled without sulfur dioxide which is a wine stabilizer (this makes the wine spoil more easily if its not handled carefully so I'm not sure what the point of not using sulfur dioxide is actually...I guess to keep it organic/biodynamic?). And then we just went back to the Morgon for the third bottle and it was awesome.

And to wrap up the evening? Dessert - poached apples with fromage blanc and a Parmesan-cocoa nib crisp. And also a little bowl of tangerine jelly with cocoa nibs. Us Americans call that jello (as opposed to Jell-O which is trademarked by Kraft).

Oh, and again a persuasive sommelier who persuaded all of us to get some more wine. A glass of non-port port (yea, don't ask) smelling of cherries and chocolate and hazelnuts and caramel and coffee, a glass or two of crisp Gewutztraminer 2002 from Zind-Humbrecht, and a syrupy half-bottle of late-harvest (vendanges tardives) Reisling from the organic producer Pierre Frick (who apparently caused a scandal/was arrested when he planted GMO vines in his vineyards, which is illegal in France tore up GMO vines at some research institute).

A not-too-shabby dinner on Thanksgiving. Most definitely better than last year when I was stuck in Paris with nothing to do.

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