September 13, 2010
Amy Thomas, the fabulous blogger behind God I love Paris, dishes here on four must-try restaurants in Paris’ 1st arrondissement.
Josephine Docena, La Régalade
Now that it’s the end of summer, it’s time to welcome Spring—and I’m talking Daniel Rose’s forever-anticipated restaurant, not the season.
For over a year, Rose and his co-chef/girlfriend, Marie-Aude Mery, have been dealing with French red tape and staying busy with the Spring Boutique, while an insatiable dining community licked its chops in anticipation of the restaurant’s reopening. The 24-seater finally debuted late this summer with a five-course market-driven tasting menu. For my recent lunch (I’m too cheap to spend 64 Euros for dinner; the 38 Euros lunch is more my speed), that meant palate-pleasing dishes like a creamy, lemony caviar d’aubergine, a juicy and tender duck breast accompanied by crispy thigh bits and poached peach, and a deconstructed lemon tart topped with crème anglaise, praliné shavings and plump blueberries.
Josephine Docena, Spring
Though the kitchen is visible as it was in the petite ninth arrondissement spot (the massive stainless steel appliances and copper pans provoke beaucoup de jalousie) Spring’s new incarnation, with stark white walls, brushed concrete floors, and sharp angles, feels more “downtown chic” than “neighborhood gem”. (Spring Restaurant, 6 rue Ballieul, 1st. 01 45 96 05 72, Spring Boutique, 52 rue de l’Arbre Sec, 1eme, 01 58 62 44 30)
Gourmands might be familiar with this little nook of the city as it’s where Chez la Vieille has been sating local celebrities for 50 years. Whereas Spring brings a fresh sensibility to the plate, this two-story bistro is all tradition. Beatnik tiled floors and black and white framed photos envelop cozily packed tables, and an affordable lunch menu (29 Euros for three courses) is as irresistible as ever. The traditional fare includes a heaping lentil and chicken salad and pan-fried dorade with endives, along with seasonal items like cold pea soup thrown in for good measure. (Chez La Vielle, 37 rue de l’Arbre Sec, 1eme, 01 42 60 15 78)