Restaurant: Atelier Crenn
Location: 3127 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94123. (415) 440-0460
Date: January 15, 2015
Rating: Awesome presentation and quite tasty
I’ve wanted to go to Atelier Crenn for years now, as it’s not only an award winning Michelin 2 star San Francisco fine dining restaurant, but quite avant garde and modernist, which I very much enjoy.
From my cellar: 1993 Robert Ampeau & Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. Burghound 92. A fully mature and expressive nose of elegant secondary fruit and floral aromas introduces intensely mineral-driven, pure and beautifully well-detailed middle weight flavors that possess excellent depth and fine length. This is drinking perfectly now and should continue to do so without effort for at least another decade. Tasted only once recently.
“I touch the earth and play, in its cool milk light.” Salsify, cauliflower, white chocolate. You use that stick (the salsify) to pick up the dusty stuff and eat it, then eat the stick. Pretty darn good if a hair fibrous.
“Noir sur noir.” Squid Ink Rice Cracker. Nothing wrong with it, but not the most exciting.
“Where the broad ocean leans against the Spanish land.” Squid, iberico ham, lardo.
“I remember an oceanic feeling.” Shima Aji, beet, turnip.
“Strolling on the beach, in its whimsically ebullient innocence.” Exotic tarragon sorbet.
“Here, the earth proffers its juicy and tangy, chlorophyll gifts.” King crab, fennel. Quite nice.
“The sea is in me, as strange and mysterious.” Scallop, pear, sea cucumber dashi.
“The setting of the orange sun.” Cashew, butternut squash, persimmon. This dairy-free cashew ice cream was amazing and had the texture of mochi (sort of).
“I revisted my childhood memories, a rebirth of the forest.” Duck egg, pate, porcini broth.
“Nibbling on Brittany seeds with a twinkle in my eye.” Brioche.
From my cellar: 1993 Louis Jadot Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 92. In stark contrast to the Chambertin, this is wonderfully expressive and complex with abundant earth and spice notes followed by big, structured, still sappy if slightly austere flavors that offer excellent density and plenty of character. Impressively scaled and finishes with striking length. A clear step up from the Chambertin.
“Tastying the white luxurious pillow.” Bone marrow, osetra caviar, nasturtium.
“I take a sip of winter.” Some kind of interesting juice?
“Watching the beast rests, beneath the leaves.” Squab raspberry, mustard seeds. Quite delicious main.
“Dotting the fragrant flora.” Carrot jerky. Looks like a vanilla bean. Interesting.
Salad. Not sure what in.
“Winter has come and is full of sweet surprises.” The sea. This whacky and impressive dessert was incredible with hints of citrus. Lots of foam and stuff, but really fun.
“Sweetness, bounty, thanks.” Then came an impressive array of mignardises. Nougat. pate de fruits, marshmallows.
Atelier Crenn is an amazing culinary experience. It’s playful, poetic, and while a tad cerebral, quite delicious. A few courses were a bit flat, like the squid ink crisp or the “sip of winter” but many were flat out excellent, and all through the presentation was fantastic. In its artsy presentational way it reminded me of Roberto Cortez and his CR8 series — which is high praise.
Service was attentive without being annoying and spot on. My only complaint is that the lighting is dim and flash isn’t allowed!