For those who have always dreamed of dining at a cute bistro in Paris but are grounded in the reality of being a college student, rise n°2 may be the place for you to live out your fantasy at a more reasonable price. Tucked in the corner of the second floor of BLVD Place, the development that houses a big Whole Foods and other trendy restaurants, rise n°2 is a French cafe that specializes in souffles.
The first time I looked at the menu, I was intrigued by the starter called “Marshmallow Soup.” Dessert for an appetizer? Sign me up! After doing some more research, I discovered to my dismay that the marshmallow soup was in fact a savory tomato soup with goat cheese made to look like marshmallows. However, the extensive list of both savory and sweet soufflés was enough to overcome this initial disappointment and motivate me to try this new restaurant.
Upon walking through the big wooden door, you will immediately notice the knick knacks for sale and the strings of lights strewn around the restaurant. Once you settle into the kitschy atmosphere, the friendly staff brings mini French baguettes to be cut with a guillotine-like knife. Beware that this bread is addicting — it is served warm with quality butter and the guillotine is a fun way to slice it. Turning to the drink menu, you’ll find a number of unique French specialties; I decided to try the Sparkling Apple Cider Duche De Longueville and I can attest it was not your average Martinelli’s.
For cheese lovers, an international cheese cart, or Chariot de Fromage, offers guests a choice of three to five cheeses. My dinner date and I decided to try five cheeses: black truffle cheese, a goat cheese with a red wine rind, a strong Belgian beer cheese, a dry Spanish cheese and black pepper crusted goat cheese. The black truffle cheese was outstanding with a creamy texture and actual pieces of black truffle. The cheeses were served with toasted crostini, dried figs and quince paste, making for a delightful starter.
Although there are salads, sandwiches and other entrees, we came for the souffles so we decided to split a savory one and a sweet one. There is a standard souffle menu and a seasonal souffle menu. While we chose to order the herb and spicy sausage savory souffle and the bread pudding sweet souffle from the standard menu, the seasonal menu had some tempting options including a crab savory soufflé and a bananas foster sweet souffle. When the bread pudding souffle arrived, the server poked a hole into it and then poured a rich creme anglaise sauce down the middle. Needless to say, it made for a fantastic finish.
If you haven’t already figured it out, the title of the restaurant relates to the fact that proper souffles rise. The number “2” comes from the fact that there is an original location in Dallas. The souffles we ordered did not disappoint — they were quite voluminous on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside, while still being flavorful.
Of course, the unique atmosphere and menu come at a cost. Depending on if you order appetizers and how many souffles you want to try, your bill can come out to be between $25 and $35 after tax and tip. That said, I highly recommend this restaurant for a fun date, or an ideal place to try before Esperanza.