Atelier Crenn, San Francisco, 3/14/19

exterior
exterior

Atelier Crenn is a small restaurant with only 8 tables.   It’s been several years (pre Frankie site) since we were there and since then Chef Dominique Crenn has become the first female chef in the U.S to attain a  3 star Michelin rating.  It is a warm setting with paintings by chef’s father Allain decorating the walls.  They re-modeled 2 years ago and now round polished wood tables are set off with dampened lighting and music playing softly in the background.  The presence from the street is very discreet with no name, just the number marking the place.  They have 2 seatings for a multi course tasting menu, for which wine pairings are offered.  The evening we were there it was a spring menu that featured many items now grown on their own farm and locally sourced other ingredients.  Dishes are complex yet simple with a depth of flavor and texture in each dish that is amazing.   Many had a tableside finish that was a nice show and added to the information about the dish.  A poem greets you at the table with each line symbolizing a part of the meal to come.  Afterward you are presented with a summary of your courses. Service is friendly and helpful and pacing and portion control of the meal are good.  Chef Crenn did come out and greet each of her guests and allowed time for a bit of conversation. 

interior
interior
interior
interior
interior
interior
champagne
champagne
Frankie studied the patterns in the wood
Frankie studied the patterns in the wood
poem
welcome poem about the upcoming meal

 

A traditional start to the meal is a Kir Breton, something that reflects on the chef’s home life, and the only real similarity to courses in past years.  It is a white chocolate wrapper filled with apple juice flavored with Crème de cassis inside.  It is a lovely combination of flavors with a nice burst of liquid in your mouth.

first
Kir Breton
little closer
little closer

 

Rocky Point Oyster and Rosé is a Rocky Point oyster topped with a shell created from rosé wine.  A very nice pairing with the delicate oyster.

Rocky Point Oyster adn Rosé
Rocky Point Oyster and Rosé
closer
closer
underneath
underneath
Frankie took a nap on the purse stool
Frankie took a nap on the purse stool

 

Geoduck (clam), Sea Urchin and Citrus is presented in a dome that fills with smoke when opened.  It is a tartlet with sea urchin topped with the clam and then finished with a citrus cream.  The crisp, delicate crust contrasts nicely with the soft urchin and chewy clam.  The citrus flavor is a wonderful pairing with the seafood for a terrific combination of textures and tastes.

presentation
presentation
Geoduck, Sea Urchin and Citrus
Geoduck, Sea Urchin and Citrus
closer
closer
finishing touch
finishing touch
another angle
another angle
closer
closer
chef watches over the room
Chef Crenn watches over the room

 

Dungeness Crab, Seaweed and Whey is finished tableside with the whey emulsion and paired with a cup of broth made from the shells of the crab, ginger and coconut oil.  The sweet crab is paired with dried gooseberries and sea grapes.  The ingredients make a terrific combination, especially with the sweet bits of fruit.  The ginger and coconut spark the broth to the level of delicious.  A great course.

Dungeness Crab, Seaweed and Whey
Dungeness Crab, Seaweed and Whey
presentation
presentation
Whey added
Whey added
closer
closer
broth
broth
broth color
broth color
Frankie is fascinated with flatware rests
Frankie is fascinated with flatware rests

 

Seeds and Grains is a combination of dark wheat, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, smoked trout roe, pumpkin seed oil, marigold-clove oil all topped with browned butter and wildflowers, assembled tableside.  This dish had tons of flavors and textures – smoke, the pop of the trout roe, crunch of the seeds.  It was interesting, fun and really good.

presentation of the next course
presentation of the next course
preparations
preparations
additions
additions
Seeds and Grains
Seeds and Grains
closer
closer
mixed
mixed
detail
detail
Frankie and the table flowers
Frankie and the table flowers

 

Reserve White Sturgeon and Koji was simple in its presentation.  The caviar was from Oregon and paired with rice cream and smoked gel from shiso oil.  It was served with crisp small crepes that were perfect to pair with a dab of each ingredient.  The crepes were delicious and delicate and went perfectly with the fruit, cream and caviar.  Wonderful.

Reserve White Sturgeon and Koji
Reserve White Sturgeon and Koji
cracker to go with
cracker to go with caviar
closer
closer
cracker
cracker
wine
wine
Frankie waited by the bread plate
Frankie waited by the bread plate

 

Brioche and House-cultured Butter  was a good sized loaf of brioche.  It was soft and buttery on its own but served with a house made and seasoned butter that was nice, but hard to follow the wow factor of caviar.

Brioche and house cultured butter
Brioche and house cultured butter
Frankie posed with the bread
Frankie posed with the bread
closer bread
closer bread
closer butter
closer butter
Frankie sniffed the butter
Frankie sniffed the butter

 

Abalone, Cabbage and Smoke Créme was made on the yakitori barbecue and topped with a Napa Cabbage leaf that was dehydrated.   Some smoked creme fraiche with parsley oil and dehydrated mustard seeds made a sauce and a bit of sauerkraut also from Napa Cabbage was in the dish.  The abalone was from Monterey, CA. and incredibly tender.  The sauerkraut added a bit of tartness to the dish that worked really well.   It was probably the best abalone I’ve ever had.

Abalone, cabbage and smoked creme
Abalone, cabbage and smoked creme
closer
closer
turned
turned
turned
turned
underneath
underneath
pick a knife
pick a knife
one choice
one choice
Frankie checked out the art
Frankie checked out the art

 

Black Cod and Coastal Greens came with your selection of a special knife, all of which were made for the restaurant.  Trust me, though, no knife was needed for this finely prepared fish.  The moist chunk of fish was in a miso walnut spread with a red onion glaze and finished with vinaigrette made with walnut oil.  The vinaigrette melted into the delicious fish but did not add a vinegar taste, instead it brightened the flavor of all it was with.  Another total winner.

Black Cod and Coastal Greens
Black Cod and Coastal Greens
closer
closer
side
side
inside
inside
wine
wine
Somm and Frankie
Sommelier Eric and Frankie

 

The  Smoked Cod was with Celery and Mussels.  Some mussel shavings were on top of  the black cod mixed  with cream and potatoes.  This was a dish of smoothness and full of smokey, rich flavor.  Yum.

Smoked Cod, Celery and mussels
Smoked Cod, Celery and mussels
closer
closer
inside
inside
Frankie found the logo on the wine glass
Frankie found the logo on the wine glass

 

The rest of the cod was made into a Bouillon called cod tea and mixed with dehydrated flowers at the table.  It was full of flavor and good but I liked the crab broth better.

preparations
preparations
cup for next course
cup for next course
Bouillon
Bouillon
from the side
from the side
another view
another view
Frankie finished it
Frankie finished it

 

Metronome (goat’s milk cheese) and Concorde Pear made up  a cheese course and were served with a multi-barley bread.  The cheese was good and went well with the excellent pear.  The greens gave it more color but I couldn’t decide if I thought they added anything, however they were cut fresh from the plant at the table.  The bread had lots of texture and heft and held up well with the other strong flavors, but the pear was the best part.

preparations
preparations
preparations
preparations
Metronome and Concorde Pear
Metronome and Concorde Pear
bread
bread
closer
closer
another view
another view
closer
closer
Server and Frankie
Sweet Server Megan and Frankie

 

Eucalyptus was a popsicle on a eucalyptus branch and served as a palate cleanser.  It was creamy and tasty and supplemented by the aroma of the sticky, non-edible leaves.  It was good.

Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus
closer
closer
Frankie found flowers
Frankie found flowers
art
art

 

Citrus and Vanilla was the dessert in the form of an orange ball.  The shell was made of cocoa butter and filled with orange blossom ice cream.  It was light with filled with various textures and tastes.  It was not overly sweet but still quite satisfying.

Citrus and Vanilla
Citrus and Vanilla
closer
closer
inside
inside
a bit more
a bit more
Frankie wondered if this was for clawing
Frankie wondered if this was for clawing

 

Mignardises were a chocolate with pistachio ganache (left), a passion fruit, nut and white chocolate (middle) and a chocolate filled with soft praline caramel (right).   All were nice but the praline caramel was my favorite.

Mignardises
Mignardises
closer
closer
inside
inside pistachio ganache
inside
inside soft praline caramel
Frankie found more flowers
Frankie found more flowers

 

We were sent home with a copy of the evening’s menu and a delicious nut, seed bar along with a copy of one of the paintings.  A perfect end to a wonderful evening.

treat to take with you
treat to take with you
menu card
menu card
underneath
underneath
IMG_1269
menu
Chef Crenn and Frankie
Chef Dominique Crenn and Frankie

 

 

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