My reservation to dine at San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn this past February coincided with chef Dominique Crenn’s newly awarded (and long-awaited) third Michelin star. It’s a reservation I tried to make on several occasions, and somehow it never worked out…until then. It was worth the wait.
Driven by childhood memories, chef Crenn created an elegant dining experience for the guest, inspired by the past and presented ahead of its time. The care, thought, and detail behind every unbelievable bite shows why she continues to soar.
The restaurant, intimate with only eight tables but still spacious enough for the staff to float around, shows off some Crenn’s personal collections including childhood art and a prominently placed poem she once wrote to her father. Straw nest details strategically placed on menus, walls, and lighting signal the constant change and rebirth, sort of speak. Each table is isolated within the space with its own area rug placed underneath.
Service throughout the almost three-hour dinner was expertly orchestrated and included multiple tableside presentations per course: some more complex than others.
Dinner opened with a beautiful rustic floral vessel holding the menu. Not just any menu, but an ode to it. Every line poetically described each course and allowed for the element of surprise within every dish and bite. My favorite: “A wild dance together, to the memories of a devotion unspoken.” Sensual. Mysterious. Alluring. Fire. Crenn. A menu with the actual main ingredients was gifted at the end of the night.
Crenn excels, not only with her combination of flavor profiles but by also successfully layering texture after texture and awaking curiosity in the diner. Every course seamlessly flowed into the next. I sat feeling honored to experience it, and secretly not wanting the night to end.
From the 15+- courses, my clear favorites were the Dungeness Crab (and its elixir accompanying broth), the Caviar service (including the supplement), the Kir Breton Sphere, and the Striped Bass.
Given the seasonal menu, I hope to return and give the other stages a try as well. For now, I remain forever in awe. #inCRENNible!
Congratulations on also topping the 2019 World’s 50 Best Restaurants List at No.35.
Additional photos and videos on my Instagram account: #AtelierCrennseries