The dining room at La Bourse et la Vie.
When I heard that Daniel Rose, chef/owner of Spring, had opened a new, lower-priced bistro, La Bourse et la Vie, in Paris, I couldn’t wait to try it, but despaired of being able to get a reservation at any time in the near future, given the great difficulties I have had in the past booking a table at Spring. What a surprise, then, to get one immediately with a simple phone call (apparently it is much easier now to book Spring as well).
My friend and I settled at a table for two in the small dining room, simply decorated in shades of gray with big mirrors, and perused the short menu of the day, with six choices for the starters and desserts and four for main courses.
While diners at La Bourse wait for their orders to arrive, they are treated to a luscious hot gougère, a cheese-enhanced popover, an
auspicious beginning. It was followed by the highlight of the meal, half of a fried quail breaded with buckwheat and topped with lemon and butter, which had the Daniel Rose
touch: sharp, surprising flavor and texture contrasts and perfect execution. The only thing missing was the careful presentation.
Bonnie had the tomato and anchovy starter, which was perfectly fine and made with quality ingredients, but she was a bit envious of my quail.
Our main courses, duckling à l’orange and brill
with bone marrow, were very fine (as was the delightful potato gratin that came with both)
but lacked that extra something that made the quail so good.
The dessert we shared, which Rose (who by the end of the meal had come out of the kitchen, where he is officiating every night during the restaurant’s early days), described as a “signature” dish, was also good but didn’t
ignite any sparks of joy. Called the “coupe Vivienne” it consisted of two scoops of vanilla ice cream with a crunchy caramel sauce.
The always amiable chef regaled us with a few extras, including a generous scoop of a yummy chocolate mousse and a chestnut liqueur.
This good little bistro is not as exciting as Spring, but we mustn’t forget that Spring is truly something special and is far more expensive than La Bourse. And with Rose at the stove, it may still blossom into something wonderful.