Atelier Crenn: San Francisco

Dinner May 14, 2016

Spring has come with it’s cool breeze, Poetic Culinaria.  A poem for each season, ushers in a modern take on fine French cuisine where creativity is given it’s breath and artistry is at the forefront.

Atelier Crenn achieves this lofty height, the techniques are refined and artful plating compliments perfectly balanced food. As the journey progresses the flavour reaches a progressivey higher crescendo with each course.

Atelier Crenn

Chef: Dominique Crenn

3127 Fillmore St,
San Francisco, CA 94123

Phone: (415) 440-0460

The Worlds 50 Best Restaurants: top female chef 2016

Michelin stars **

Vibe: Minimalistic setting serving modern French artful dishes Poetic Culinaire

Dominque Crenn does not want to be known as a female chef, however having  just been crowned the world’s top 50 restaurant’s female chef for 2016, it’s a bit unavoidable.

Walk through the door of her restaurant the feminine tones will be immediately apparent and reflect her Gaellic elegance. The aesthetic minimal, a delicate branch of moss and dried forest on the wall, modern lighting perfectly positioned over tables of bare wood, colours reflecting nature, simple, soothing.

The menu will arrive, you are about to be taken on a journey, the peotic culinaire you have been expecting. The menu is written as a poem, keeps you guessing until it arrives, only after the journey is completed are you given a traditional menu.


Staff are busy, and shuffle silently shuffle between tables. The kitchen is open and also respectfully quiet.

Kir Breton

Imagine an egg-thin shell of light cocoa butter filled with cold liquid apple cider and topped with a créme de cassis gel and you have a mouthful of the Brittany version of Kir Royale, a reminder of the chef’s childhood spent in Brittany.


Chef’s treat

An unusual pairing to say the least, banana coated in roasted pecan and topped with Osteria caviar, jury may be out on this one.


Maple Popcorn

Pretty as a picture you won’t want to disturb the natural beauty of this dish, flash-fried crispy, red dulce seaweed topped with popcorn dust and maple and elegantly adorned with gold leaf.


Grilled oyster, fermented pineapple

Another unusual pairing, lightly grilled kusshi, ultimate oyster with fermented pineapple and a smoky creme fraiche, you will be pleasantly surprised, but it works.


A-5 Wagyu, preserved citrus

Japanese A5 Wagyu cube will collapse in your mouth, its fattiness balanced with preserved citrus, fresh pickles and miniature nasturtium leaves.


Abalone, bacon , black truffle

Monterey Bay abalone, porcini mushrooms and crispy bacon pieces could as easily be triplicates of each other, textures similar, you may need to check which one you are eating. Served with roasted garlic and a sauce of black truffle and grilled bacon.


Meyer Lemon, eucalyptus and pear

Now you are in for some magic, a fragrant, fluffy, melt in your mouth palate cleanser of pear, snap frozen at the table in liquid nitrogen, zested with meyer lemon and served on a eucalyptus leaf.


Salmon, potato mousseline, pickled Ramps, smoked roe

Full of flavour, wild caught salmon from Half Moon Bay, pickled ramps, borage greens perfect with a potato mousseline and smoked trout roe. Ramps you will discover are a wild American onion that grows in the spring in Eastern US and Canada, and the flavour halfway between garlic and onion. Ramps are much loved, not hard to understand why.


Stew of peas, onion, Parmesan

Creamy Parmesan foam forms the coating for an English pea stew, hiding kobu seaweed, pickled mussels, charred scallions, halved green peas perfectly cooked to just before that critical stage before mushiness appears. Added acidity with white balsamic vinegar balanced this tasty dish full of flavour.


Spicy lobster nage

Do not be deceived, this is far more than a simple butter poached spicy lobster stock made from white wine, chili, coconut, peppers and herbs. It is the vehicle for an incredible dish of perfect Hokkaido sea urchin, so perfectly balanced that the novice or true avoider will be converted and pass the threshold to become a sea urchin lover for life. California adds a welcome sweetness with a cara cara orange to complete a heavenly dish.


The house bread arrives, fresh out of the oven with butter.


Bird, wild berries, rye

Liberty farm duck, dry aged for 2 weeks, slowly roasted over eucalyptus with a classic pairing of cherries, strawberries and blueberries with roasted beets, elderflower and smoked foie gras. Simply served with the natural jus from the duck infused with thyme.


Toasted grains

A savoury broth of toasted grains, poultry bones and shitake mushrooms, will be welcome, light and refreshing.


Raw cows mik cheese tart

Delicious raw Oma wasted rind cow milk cheese from Vermont, in a light crispy buckwheat tart and topped with morel mushroom marmalade, and a lattice of asparagus, thyme and pepper. Served with local honey sauce with pickled mustard seed. Was this too complex, did it work?  Yes to both.


Recreated olive

Pistachio sorbet shaped like an olive with olive oil and sea salt.


Egg of chestnut and sage

Roasted chestnut and sage egg in a basket nest, will instantly explode and reveal cold liquid gold with a hint of black truffle.


Toasted filo, yoghurt, apple, fennel and Yerena farm strawberry and pickled rhubarb

Sitting upon the log a toasted filo pastry, light and crisp, filled with yoghurt, compressed apple, fennel, praline and fennel pollen.

Hidden under the log a strawberry and sake ice with rhubarb and chamomile


“The forrest”

The brown shavings from classic French cookies, sablés  hide a pine nut, sorrel and mint mousse, with blackberries, raspberries, red oxalis leaf, blackberry ice, huckleberry jam and candied pine nut and a buck wheat crumble.



The next two courses come together to complete a beautiful meal filled with artful food and poetry. The butterflies are delicate geranium and strawberry and yuzu and pineapple flavoured chocolate.


The branches nestle a rose champagne and passionfruit meringue with beehive pollen, cashew and pumpkin seed nougat and a salted caramel malted milk crumble.


And to finish, a welcome cup of excellent back coffee perfect with guava caramel bonbon, macho ganache and a black sesame quinoa bark.


Spring has come with it’s cool breeze

Oceanic feeling of white dust, but crunchy

The sea began to roll and swirl, in the exotic tide

Meting pretty pink lips, eyes so big

And kissing the shadow of the beautiful beast

Its whimsically ebullient red umami

Strolling on in the orchard

Wrap-around the Mediterranean, to keep away lovers fight

Come with me and look into the green light

The rawness of those soft footed creatures

Singing, the wild bird will fly away into the smoky sky

Sipping slowly on the sweetness of the earth

Walking deep in the woods

As the earth might have something to spare

A precious token

Spring has come and is full of sweet surprises

Sweetness, bounty, thanks

The white canvas is now complete after a poetic adventure with food.

Noma Japan, February 2015, where every morsel was savoured and umami from each dish, lingered so intensely that to take a bite of the next offering was almost sacrilege.  You knew you would have to say goodbye to a new best friend to make way for the next. Exploring the street food and food halls of Tokyo, provided the matrix to begin to understand what Rene Redezpi’s genius set out to achieve. At the end, I asked “What did you think about the food?'  “incredible”  Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy