Atelier Crenn

My dining experience at Atelier Crenn was my favorite during my visit to San Francisco and the Bay Area. But as I reflect further, I'm not sure what else to say, my memories being a muddled mix of exultation and embarrassment. The meal was brilliant, the artistry unparalleled, and Dominique Crenn herself made a surprise visit mid-evening. Mentally and emotionally unprepared, my inner fangirl ran unleashed, and I babbled manically, peaked on panic and amazement. The following day, I repeated this experience when I attended her book signing at Omnivore. Or rather, I would have attended her book signing had I, an idiot, known that it would involve more than the signing of books and not arrived halfway through the hour-long Q&A. Forced to sit outside until the end like a school kid-forgotten, I eventually straggled in, brimming with shame and disappointment. Yet, she was ever gracious and humble, which filled my respect meter to overflowing and once again activated cringe fangirl mode. 

Awkwardness aside, the meal starts off with a poem that Dominique Crenn writes for each evening and on which the menu is based. In my case, it was a beautiful free-form verse about the sea, which was presented alongside a complimentary glass of champagne. And then, it begins. I am no stranger to artistic plating, but some of the dishes that followed were so ridiculously stunning that they transcended artistic to art, but without any sacrifice in taste. It was a delicious and extraordinarily beautiful meal, making for an especially memorable experience. 

 Kir Breton - Apple Cider encased in a cocoa butter and white chocolate shell with creme de cassis

Kir Breton - Apple Cider encased in a cocoa butter and white chocolate shell with creme de cassis

 Cheese Custard, Cauliflower

Cheese Custard, Cauliflower

 Oyster Roe, Fermented Cucumber, Creme Fraiche

Oyster Roe, Fermented Cucumber, Creme Fraiche

 Alaskan King Crab, Yogurt Broth, Coconut Broth, Cured Shiso

Alaskan King Crab, Yogurt Broth, Coconut Broth, Cured Shiso

 Live Scallop, Fermented Pineapple, Finger Lime

Live Scallop, Fermented Pineapple, Finger Lime

 Grilled Abalone, Nettle Purée, Crispy Nettle, Brown Butter-Caper-Seaweed Sauce

Grilled Abalone, Nettle Purée, Crispy Nettle, Brown Butter-Caper-Seaweed Sauce

 'Cinderella' Pumpkin Purée, Shaved White Truffle, Hokkaido Uni presented tableside with a truffle butter sauce. The uni was brought out within a hollowed out, whole pumpkin. 

'Cinderella' Pumpkin Purée, Shaved White Truffle, Hokkaido Uni presented tableside with a truffle butter sauce. The uni was brought out within a hollowed out, whole pumpkin. 

 Bluefin Tuna 'Ham', Eggplant, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, BuckwheatCrackers

Bluefin Tuna 'Ham', Eggplant, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, BuckwheatCrackers

 Squid Ink Rice Cracker, Seaweed Powder-Cured Squid with Potato Mousseline and a Garlic, Mushroom Consomme

Squid Ink Rice Cracker, Seaweed Powder-Cured Squid with Potato Mousseline and a Garlic, Mushroom Consomme

 Giant Squid, Carrot, Vadouvan

Giant Squid, Carrot, Vadouvan

 Grilled Sunchoke, Coffee Glaze, Turnip. Yuzu, Mountain Spinach, Elderberry Glaze?

Grilled Sunchoke, Coffee Glaze, Turnip. Yuzu, Mountain Spinach, Elderberry Glaze?

 Grilled Lobster, Grilled Broccoli, Butter Sauce with Caviar and White Truffle 

Grilled Lobster, Grilled Broccoli, Butter Sauce with Caviar and White Truffle 

 'Salad'. Banyuls Meringue, Olive Oil Jam, Market Herbs

'Salad'. Banyuls Meringue, Olive Oil Jam, Market Herbs

 Recreated Olive - Olive Oil Ice Cream, Pistachio, Maldon Salt

Recreated Olive - Olive Oil Ice Cream, Pistachio, Maldon Salt

 Egg of Chestnut and Sage

Egg of Chestnut and Sage

 Toasted Fillo, Yogurt, Compressed Apple, Fennel

Toasted Fillo, Yogurt, Compressed Apple, Fennel

 Quince Ice, Apple, Citrus, Pomegranate, Camomile

Quince Ice, Apple, Citrus, Pomegranate, Camomile

 Pear Mousse with Meyer Lemon Zest on Eucalyptus. [Funny Story: I wasn't instructed on how to eat this, so I assumed that everything was edible. When they came to collect the plate, there was that stretched moment: them looking back and forth between the empty stone and me, vigorously chewing in a confused manner and pointedly trying not to make eye contact.]

Pear Mousse with Meyer Lemon Zest on Eucalyptus. [Funny Story: I wasn't instructed on how to eat this, so I assumed that everything was edible. When they came to collect the plate, there was that stretched moment: them looking back and forth between the empty stone and me, vigorously chewing in a confused manner and pointedly trying not to make eye contact.]

 "the Forrest". Sorrel, Pine Nuts, Berries, Buckwheat Citrus Sablé

"the Forrest". Sorrel, Pine Nuts, Berries, Buckwheat Citrus Sablé

 Mignardise: Breton Salted Caramel, Pineapple Pâte à Fruit, Pistachio Nougat

Mignardise: Breton Salted Caramel, Pineapple Pâte à Fruit, Pistachio Nougat

 Chocolates: Milk Chocolate with Quinoa Brittle, Milk Chocolate with Tobacco, Pumpkin Pie Truffle

Chocolates: Milk Chocolate with Quinoa Brittle, Milk Chocolate with Tobacco, Pumpkin Pie Truffle

Date: November 2015
Camera: Canon 6D