French wine and soufflé, what could be better on a rainy, cool spring night. My husband and I recently dined at a Dallas restaurant called Rise nº1 Salon De Souffle. Rise nº1 is a French soufflé and wine bar. Walking into Rise nº1 feels like walking into the middle of a tree from a children’s story. It is cozy and warm, a touch crowded and loud but that adds to the ambience of the restaurant. There is a sort of gift shop sprawled across the front of the restaurant, river berch trunks in a semi-circle wrapped in Christmas lights in the middle of the restaurant and a large wine bottle chandelier hanging from the ceiling. There are oils, jams, soaps, lotions etc for sale throughout the restaurant.
L’Historie – The Story of Rise nº1 as shared by the restaurant: Rise nº1 was born of the creative vision of Hedda Gioia Dowd, epicure, Francophile, and owner of Antique Harvest, a unique business that combs the chateaux, vineyards, and farmhouses of Southwest France for one-of-a-kind treasures. As the daughter of a French mother and Italian American father, Dowd spent her summers in France enjoying the savory and sweet soufflés crafted by her mother and grandmother. Inspired by the simplicity and versatility of the soufflé, the European way of celebrating the genuine pleasures of the table, and a dream to engage all of the senses in an environmentally conscious salon de soufflé, the concept of Rise nº1 was born.Dowd teamed up with longtime friend and esteemed executive chef Cherif Brahmi, who was born in Lyon and had the perfect skill set to make a creative and thoughtful partner in creating Rise nº1 .
As we were waiting for our table we enjoyed a glass of wine from the wine bar. I chose the Pierre Henri Morel Cotes du Rhone Villages Laudun Blanc 2012. This white Rhone blend was crafted from Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc and offered a crisp minerality, honeysuckles, anise, toasted almonds and finishing with light orchard fruit. It had a round acidity that left a dry mouthfeeling, begging for another sip. It was a very nice wine and delicious pre-dinner sipping. My husband chose an Oregon Pinot Noir that he felt was lacking in flavor and acidity so I did not take any notes on it.
Once seated we perused the menu to find many delicious offerings. The Marshmallow Soup came highly recommended as an appetizer but when I see artichokes on a menu I am a sucker for ordering them; so we began our dinner with Artichokes Andree (steamed artichoke with Hedda’s family sauce). The artichokes were soft and the sauce was a light and elegant accompaniment. It was delicious. Although Rise nº1 does offer selections that are not soufflé, we chose the “when in France” mantra and ordered soufflé. My husband had the Southwest Chicken Souffle with a tomatillo sauce on top. He found it light and flavorful with just the right amount of spice for a pleasing dish. I chose the Crab Special Soufflé. It was also light, yet creamy and full of flavor. I would absolutely order it again! Expecting the soufflés to be heavy and fatty I was surprised by their light, fluffy nature; providing an excellent meal without leaving us over full. According to rise n 1, each of their savory soufflés contained between 263-413 calories. But we could not stop there, the sweet souffles were calling our names! We ended our meal with the Bread Pudding Souffle topped with Gateau de chocolat. It was decadent and delicious, everything you want in a sweet souffle, with a slightly higher caloric price tag of 122-317 plus sauce. However, we did share the dessert.
One fun aspect of is their wine flights. They offer an extensive wine list by the bottle, Rise nº1 glass or flight. Since I am always up for trying new wines and I love a selection I decided to take the French Reds Tour to pair with my dinner. Plus at $16.25 for the flight it was certainly worth a try. Now I know the whites would probably have paired better with my meal selection but I wanted red.
The first stop on my French Reds Tour began with Pavillon de Chavannes, Cuvee des Ambassades, Cote de Brouilly. This old world style Beaujolais was crafted from 100% Gamay grapes and offered fresh bright strawberries, blueberries and raspberries with a touch of spice and well-balanced structure. It was light and lively; very enjoyable.
Next I had the Le Petit Vin d’Avril, Vin de France: This wine was crafted from declassified Chateauneuf-du-Pape grapes consisting of Grenache and Mouvedre. It was a full body wine with concentrated dark berries, leather and a touch of tobacco. It had round acidity but was a bit tannic. Overall it was my least favorite of the four reds and the one my husband unfortunately ordered with his dinner.
My third stop took me to Domaine de la Garreliere, le Rouge, Touraine, Loire Valley for a lovely 100% Cabernet Franc. It was a lovely earthy wine with ripe red berries and blackberries wrapped around great notes of tobacco, black pepper, smoke and herbs. It was delightfully acidic with well-structured tannins and a pleasing finish.
The French Reds Tour concluded with a Cros de Romet, Cotes du Rhome Villages-Cairanne, Rhone Valley. This Grenache/Syrah blend was well-structured with rich black and blue berries, spice notes, black pepper, a touch of violets and smoke. It was the best wine of the group and provided an excellent pairing with the Bread Pudding souffle.
The principals at rise n 1 have made a collective commitment to support the slow food movement and do what they can to help the environment. The team at rise n 1 shows its commitment to “la terre” by:
- Always using the freshest ingredients, organic when available.
- Employing local and regional vendors whenever possible.
- Growing herbs in an on-site herb garden.
- Utilizing renewable cork flooring.
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with our fabulous dinner at Rise nº1 is as delectably French as our meal; Mes Belles Années by Olivier Libaux présente Imbécile
I hope you enjoyed my night at Rise nº1 in Dallas. If you live in town please give them a visit; if not please consider a trip to Dallas for great food, wine, and culture. Furthermore, support your local restaurants, especially those who support the slow food movement. Cheers!