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Chef's Table @ Atelier Crenn

Updated: Dec 19, 2018

looking through a glass of white wine into the pastry kitchen of atelier crenn
In the presence of greatness

📍San Francisco, CA

My first time dining at Atelier Crenn was back in 2016. My second time was in February 2018, and here I present to you, my third visit.

After Bar Crenn was established next door to Atelier Crenn, the back area was an open territory for the team to play with. And play with it, they did. Some of the extra space was used to create a pastry kitchen for Chef Juan Contreras. His pastry kitchen also became the ideal space for a chef's table.

The excitement was overwhelming. After some catching up with the staff, I started with an amuse-bouche in the savory kitchen before being seated. After a sudachi kombucha, it was in all Atelier Crenn custom to have their Kir Breton. And with the pop of the white chocolate and cocoa butter shell, a splash of apple cider, and a dollop of crème de cassis, my palate was ready for a journey through Chef Dominique's memories.

An iconic start with bubbles in the form of champagne and kombucha

It was a dramatic entrance of the Geoduck, Sea Urchin, and Stone Fruit. Boasting more than just smoke and mirrors, this tartlet is a buttery crust holding a pocket of the sea's most interesting offerings -- I mean have you ever looked up an image of a geoduck? This was one of the dishes that I had been looking forward to having again because I love the way the combination of textures in the geoduck and the uni.

un deux trois

geoduck, uni, and stone fruit tart served with dry ice for a smokey effect
Not Karl the Fog

When it comes to my favorite flavors, this next dish has all the perfect components and really can't go wrong. Golden Osetra, Potato, and Onion which was a supplement course and in the background their Reserved White Sturgeon and Koji, served with their buckwheat crackers. The Golden Osetra was nutty and buttery, Cupid's match for the potato.

This is what luxury tastes like

This next bite was so interesting and innovative that I just had to showcase it. The Boudin Noir is a seafood blood sausage with squid ink and brioche. The inside had the texture that was in between a Japanese fish cake and an Oscar Meyer hot dog. I was surprised that I liked it and found enough depth in it.

A bite of the sea's abyss

The best part about dining by myself is that this entire loaf of Brioche is mine. The Atelier Crenn team is great for many reasons, on being that they don't judge you if you indulge on its entirety. That's the kind of positivity we all need in our lives. What makes it so great? Butter -- it's nearly 100% butter by weight (I'm half making that up).

Aterlier Crenn brioche is everything

This next trio of photos show off the peak of the carefully composed meal. We have their classic Abalone, Cabbage, and Smoked Crème, one of my favorites ever. The delicacy of perfectly cooked abalone is unmatched by any other dish in my book. There is a clean, brine to the flavor but also depth in such subtleties. To follow up, the Mt. Lassen Trout and Farm Offerings was a rightfully, heavier dish in comparison. The trout was flavorful without being overly salty. It's cured and only lightly cooked over coals, giving it a tinge of smokiness. The Broth warmed me from the inside out. I really love seeing produce being treated with respect, presented without extreme manipulations, and being fully used. I loved seeing the trout used in so many different ways throughout dinner.

Dessert is always such a treat here because of the amazing work from Chef Juan Contreras and his pastry team. The Coconut and Pineapple dessert has been on my must-try list for SO long. It was not in rotation when I came the last two times. It was highly anticipated, and I was not let down. If you could only see how my eyes lit up when I ate this. It tasted extremely refreshing though coconut is sometimes considered heavy because of its cream and meat, perfectly balanced with the entire meal. I also need to mention that presentation! As Chef Joe said, "You can eat everything but the plate."

The highly anticipated dessert with its creator

I was also presented with the Honey, Sapote, and Pollen and finished off with their famous chocolates. It was an incredible experience and an honor to be in the presence of such magnificent work.

Chef Joe Smith (right) confers with Chef Juan (left)

Until the next visit, merci beacoup, Atelier Crenn. Au revoir!


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