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The MINA Test Kitchen – San Francisco
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Atelier Crenn serves chic, contemporary French cuisine with an artistic touch. The menu describes the multi-course meal through expressive poetry rather than the usual prose found on most menus. Mood, as opposed to a particular craving, is important here. Past early course options have included the salad with carrot jerky, the salsify with white chocolate and cauliflower and the squid ink rice paper. Larger plates at Atelier Crenn are beautifully prepared and aesthetically pleasing, such as the king crab with fennel and tarragon sorbet, the duck egg with pate in porcini mushroom broth, the scallop with pear and sea cucumber dashi, and the bone marrow with osetra caviar and nasturtium.
Atelier Crenn's palate cleansers are perfect between-course refreshers. Try the cool raspberry gin and tonic tower.
Friday - Saturday: 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
A Challenge Menu. A perfect service. A very costly wine pairing. A not so good desert offering.
We've done Daniels, Bill Hill, Inn at Little Washington, the now closed la Belle Vie, Robuchon, and Aubergine etc. but on a trip to San Francisco decided to visit the only female chef with a two star Michelin rating. So glad we did! Modernist cuisine is wonderfully interpreted in her hands! Of course, the exciting Kir Breton to start, followed by ocean and (a few) land interpretations of sea urchin and spiny lobster and beef. All marvelous against the backdrop of her poetry and the moss, fern and shell presentations. Expensive, but so worth it! Enjoy, my friend, enjoy.
Food was great and presentation was definitely an experience itself. Service was friendly and generally really good, although there seemed to be a bit of a lag at the beginning of our reservation, we had 8pm reservations & the first course didn't come out until after 8:30. I highly recommend the wine pairings, we got the regular pairings and they were delicious. They changed to a service included model and now the set menu is $295 with 17 courses and the regular wine pairing is $175.
The food was fantastic!! Some of the dishes were so out there in terms or creativity and innovation! I love it when a place like this does not play it safe with "meat and potatoes" dishes. The only downside(not the restaurant's fault) is the type of clientele this attracts. Being a little more trendy than it is classy a lot of younger and annoying patrons will be seen here.
We spent more than $680 for 2 persons. Very expensive, especially we only order a $30 wine by glass. The price is different from what opentable showed...But the meal is pretty worth 3 stars actually. If they can upgrade the dessert flavor, will be perfect.
The poem that was also a hint of what dishes have been prepared. It's a constant guessing game throughout the service
Worth every penny (100,000 of them). Perfectly executed - an evening of delicious and surprising food presented in a beautiful, thoughtful way. We could have skipped the wagu beef add -on (at 95 pp and 1 1/2 inches square it was ridiculously priced) but now I can tell my boyfriend I treated him to a thousand dollar dinner for his birthday - and he and it were worth it.
Each course of the chef's tasting menu is a highly crafted item. Some work better than others. The first "course" is a poem by the chef (Dominique, don't quite your day job), "to guide you through the dining experience." The small and delicious marinated filet of trumpetfish garnished with kumquat slices comes accompanied by the head of the fish itself, the color of an inflamed uvula, that watches you balefully as you eat its flesh. Other courses provide their own interest. A wagyu steak course or a cheese custard (I ordered the latter) are offered as extras if you fear leaving without a full stomach. Whether it's a really great experience for you or a dip into bizarre curiosities will depend on your outlook. (I later found they had burned me for a cancellation fee I was told would be refunded.)
Wow kinda of meal. On par with other top restaurants in the Bay Area. Playful, whimsical, tasty, creative...after the eight course i ran out words to describe the food. Worth it!
Here is what I felt during this three-hour wonderful tour of French cuisine. It was long at all! The only similarity you can find out of the entire tasting menu is surprise. You'll realize what I mean should you go through the journey. Highly recommended!
Quite the experience. Many delightful, surprising, tasty bites. Who would have thought bananas and caviar would work together? They do at this place.
It is really expensive - I enjoyed it, but it was really expensive. I may regret it once the credit card bill arrives.
I finally got around to dining here after passing by almost every week since it opened. The interior is minimal, modern, and elegant, decorated with tasteful art that looked as if it were foraged from the surrounding counties.
As for the ambiance, save for one group of other patrons—which included a shrieking woman who had a little too much wine and her man-bunned companion—the setting was casual yet appropriately quiet and focused for enjoying a 3.5hr dining experience.
The food came out in 18 courses—some of them in pairs. It's difficult to pick standouts when you're experiencing course after course of flavors that are both unexpected and remarkable. If I had to choose three, they'd be the lobster in coconut broth, caviar on banana, and the trumpet fish. The only course that we felt was out of step with the rest and unbalanced was a cheese tart with fennel and shaved black truffle. Given that it was one thing that we didn't care for out of 18 though, that's about the best anyone could ask for.
As for the wine pairings, we opted for both the reserve and grand pairings in order to do course-by-course comparisons. Matt, our sommelier, did an excellent job explaining the varietals and describing the tasting notes of each pour. Overall, we agreed that each pairing had its standouts—an earthy vieilles vignes Chablis in the grand and a well-aged Pinot Gris in the reserve—and arrived at the conclusion that both while well-considered and the reserve added a layer of additional complexity, the grand should pleasing for most visitors.
Overall, our almost 4hr meal at Atelier Crenn flew by all too quickly. I left comparing it to the Chef's table at Saison, and decided that while Saison's food was impeccably-composed and well-calculated, Chef Crenn's food was more daring, spoke leagues more about its creator as an artist, and was therefore the more delightful journey. It's shocking that this star doesn't have a third Michelin star.
I'll definitely be back.
When I went this was a 2 star Michelin which I think deserves 3 stars. The presentations are unbelievable and by this I mean the effort put into each dish, both the food and the way it is presented. The offering here is one and only one tasting menu, something that will not be everybody's cup of tea. My wife was reluctant to go feeling that it could not be worth the cost, but after 5-6 courses she was starting to come around and halfway through she said "this is worth it". I'm the foodie, not her, so this was quite an endorsement.
Great food! Best meal ever! Worth 12 hours flight from China!
Artistic food presentation. Good experience!
Memorable. Creative. Dynamic. There's so much more I could say. The ambience was exquisite and the food was extraordinary. Would love to dine here again and take the tour that Chef Crenn and her team took us through.
We have dined in fine restaurants all over the world and this is hands down the best meal we have ever had! Absolutely amazing!
The food was very good and innovative and the service was great! Parking is annoying in that neighborhood, so arrive a few minutes earlier to find a spot!
Stunning presentation a delight for all scenes
Silly face selfies with Dominique Crenn was unexpected and awesome! Great experience... Amazing meal. Presentation was second to none.
The food is amazing! Restful of and highlighting the quality of the materials, Crenn's team masterfully unleashes the flavor potential of the carefully chosen materials. It combines traditions and techniques from around the world into a beautiful, unique experience - e.g. the seafood often alludes to Japanese Kaiseki traditions. At times, the food is playful too, like the reconstructed pistachio sorbet. It looks like a pistachio nut on a stem, only the stem is a delivery system. There's a personal touch throughout that makes the heady, Michelin techniques and accomplishments approachable - Dominique personally came out to chat with us and her signature is everywhere (e.g. the wooden box in which the chocolates are delivered are emblazoned with her poetry - which reminds me, the menu is her poetry too). The poetic descriptors, rather than a traditional blow-by-blow of ingredients adds another aspectual layer to the evening's proceedings. All in all a truly satisfying evening out.
This is not the normal dining experience most think of when going out to eat. The primary goal here is not sustenance, it's experiencing the taste and the texture of each course that is threaded together with a common theme. Each plate reaches the table with impeccable preparation.
Unlike most other restaurants that pack every inch of space with tables so close that your backside ends up bumping the next table as you reach your seat, Atelier Crenn spaces the tables out giving each it's privacy and thus lowering the noise level in the restaurant as a whole. You don't have to raise your voice to have a conversation with your fellow diner(s) and it's an effort to eves drop on the table next to you.
The service is provided from people with years of experience in the hospitality industry. It feels like each table has their own personal server.
The components of each dish are perfect but are often unharmonious. For instance the pork consume was amazing but the squid with lardo was odd. Then out of the blue comes Maine lobster in curry broth, which was a perfect dish but made little sense considering the preceding dishes. I like a lot about this place but it lacks a theme that runs throughout. The level of artistry is much appreciated. While the poem menu makes it hard to remember each bite. Overall a solid meal but probably not one of the greatest.
Sublime. The food was sublime. Excellent flavors and creative, exquisite presentation. The chef was as charming as she is talented. We were very pleased. I have had the privilege of eating at Some superb places such as per se, daniel, le bernadin etc and this ranks with them in my top 5 experiences. Much better than French Laundry.
4 years after opening, this was my 4th visit and the evolution of Atelier is all for the positive. It is almost impossible to describe the delight with which my guest greeted each flavorful dish. From oysters and sea urchin to cauliflower and a duck macerated for 3 days to give it a texture between meat and pate, the menu and execution was brilliant. As for the "multi-course" dessert with its forest theme presentation- the stuff of fairy tales. Wine list is small but perfectly curated with several well priced options including half price bottles that make sharing a pleasure but allows you to still fill in with champagne to start and a nice red to end. Impeccable service goes without saying when you have 2 stars- chef Crenn worked the room with warmth and the staff seemed to effortlessly glide from table to table without appearing to touch the ground. I only wish I could afford to hold a party in the back garden room and introduce all my friends to this exceptional venue.
Extraordinary food and service--best in San Francisco!
Everything was wonderful. Food preparation was incredible and preparation beautiful. Absolutely every course was amazing! Can't recommend enough.
The food was very good. The restaurant was boring. I don't think it was worth the money spent at all.
Went with family to celebrate
Almost every course was either fantastic or culinary interesting.
My favorite course had 3 bites, one each with oyster, caviar, and uni. Each one had fresh cucumber, seafood saltiness, a creamy richness.
Another course had a broth of roasted grains that everyone in my group thought was amazing. Such a simple thing, but so delicious.
The meal does take several hours and is fairly pricey.
Absolutely delicious and worth the 2 michelin star. My friend and I had a great time. The chef is so artistic, creative, and have a great sense of taste. Food was presented as art. We will come back for sure.
A blend of tastes and visual inventiveness that makes for a very satisfying dining experience!
I do have a suggestion though. The dishes in which the food was served were very original and inventive. I did have a problem with the main courses being served on flat slate plates. The gravy ran over the edge onto the table and the scale of the dish compromised its importance and creativity significantly. A complex dish needs to be plated to its significance and scale.
Excellent Service and Amazing food. Beyond impressed!
After a very good albeit slightly underwhelming experience Manresa the night before, it was great to be reminded what heights creative cuisine can reach. We simply loved Atelier Crenn. Across the entire degustation menu, all hits and no misses. If pushed for criticism, I'd say the service (aside from the excellent sommelier) wasn't quite up to the heights of the food. Also, the wine list, although very solid, didn't offer the selection you might expect from a restaurant of this caliber. Oh and the idea of the menu being a poem is arguably nifty but a little cumbersome and contrived for those wanting to take it home and remember what they ate. Suggestion: why not simply print a "menu translation" on the back.
These are minor quibbles though that hardly diminished the overall experience. Prices ($900 for two of us) were high by comparison to similar restaurants in my home country Australia as well as elsewhere in the US. The City By The Bay...The City Where You Pay.
A fabulous evening nonetheless. That third Michelin star can't be far off.
Outstanding from start to finish. The best food/dining experience I've ever had. Each course was unique, delicious and presented perfectly.
The plates that were awesome, were awesome, just not enough of them in the 18 presentations.
I have been to Noma but this is absolutely comparable. Wonderful!
Fantastic food and service - we had a real foodie experience - would certainly go again
3 Michelin stars for 2 Michelin star availability. Get it now while you can still get reservations.
I took my wife here for her birthday and we had the experience of a life time. Greeted by the chef herself, we were made to feel welcome and special the entire time. Wonderfully attentive staff, beautiful wines and extraordinary menu. The meu was actually presented as a poem. The aesthetic of Atelier Crene is brilliant. Beautiful presentation, lovely appointments. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
All that said, this is fine dining approximately priced. This is not a night to skimp. Save your pennies and go when you can do the wine pairings. Well worth it. It
Very creative food. Very expensive price.