Restaurant Review: Petit Crenn

It was another anniversary and that meant that it was time to choose another nice place to eat at 🙂 On the top of my list was the only 3 Michelin star female chef in America – Dominique Crenn’s first restaurant, Atilier Crenn. But at a base price tag $345 a person, I opted for her second and less pricey restaurant, Petit Crenn.

Petit Crenn has dishes that are inspired by her home in Brittany, France. For $105/person (taxes and gratuity included unless you add to your meal), you get a 7 course seafood tasting menu. Just a note that the menu changes depending on what’s in season and what fresh ingredients they’re able to get.

Details

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Address: 609 Hayes St., San Francisco, CA 94102
  • Restaurant Type: French
  • Price: $$$$
  • Ambience: Classy
  • Attire: Causal

Reservation & Seating

When you book your reservation (which you have to do in order to get a seat), you can choose if you want to sit at the bar or if you want to sit at the table. I opted for the bar because they have an open kitchen and you can watch the chefs cook when you’re waiting for your next course. I thought that the table seating was really dim (I guess some might call it romantic) and the tables are really close to your neighbor so the bar worked well for us.

Open kitchen

Food

First course

For the first course, they started us off with some small bites. It was a great start to the meal as everything was delicious. Although I enjoyed them all, I think my favorite was the pastry stuffed with gooey cheese. The mussel was my next favorite with a perfectly cooked mussel with the lightest sabayon. The beet tartare added a nice crunchy texture and was full of flavor.

Canapés | Beet tartare, comté gougère, mussel with sabayon

Second course

I’m not typically a huge fan of leeks, but this dish was prepared well. The texture of the leek was soft, but had a crisp crunch at the same time. What really made the dish delicious was the oyster emulsion. I coated every bite of the leeks with it and wiped the bowl clean with the side of bread they gave us. As much as this dish was super fresh, crisp and prepared well, I don’t think I’ll be running to the grocery store for some leeks anytime soon. The oyster emulsion though – where can I buy a jar of that?

Leeks en vinaigrette | Oyster emulsion, sea grapes, horseradish

Third course

I think this was my favorite course of the night and I don’t even like American condiments! This was a winter squash soup with a spoonful of mustard ice cream in the center. The soup was so flavorful felt so comforting. The mustard ice cream was super unique and didn’t have that bottled mustard taste, but more of a natural, seedy taste. I like the cold and hot contrast of this was a really creative dish.

Fourth course

This was by far the prettiest course. I love how all the bright colors pop out in this dish. Everything was cooked perfectly, but I’m just not a huge fan of beans. I didn’t mind it, but I kind of wish it wasn’t the main ingredient. What really helped was the delicious sauce and the black truffles. Overall, I thought it was a good dish though because the ingredients were so fresh that it felt like they gardened it right before everything was cooked, and the dish felt light with a lot of complex flavors.

Yellowfoot mushrooms | Shelling beans, borage, winter truffles

Fifth course

Since we were at the bar, we were able to watch them smoke the trout. The trout was so delicious that it’s what I aspire all my pieces of fish should taste. The trout was cooked right to the point where it wasn’t raw anymore and it had such a soft, silky and tender texture. If it had bones, it would flake right off of it. I also loved the charred vegetables as it added to the smokiness of the meal.

McFarland springs trout | Brassicas, Nasturtium, sauce viege

Sixth course

I wasn’t expecting this tiny plate to be dessert, but I get it makes sense because there are two dessert courses (though they surprised us with a third as well). I liked the lightness and the grainy texture of the pear sorbet. What I really enjoyed was the candied walnuts that added a nice crunchy texture and the goat cheese added an interesting dynamic to the dish as well.

Asian pear sorbet | Goat cheese, candied walnut, long pepper

Seventh course

The seventh course was a gâteau voyageur with persimmon, almond nougat and mandarin ice cream and I sadly could not find a picture of it on my camera even though I could have sworn I took one.

I’m not a fan of persimmon and to be honest, this wasn’t my favorite dish. I enjoyed the almond nougat and mandarin ice cream, but couldn’t scarf down the persimmon cake. If it had a flavor I liked, I think I would have really enjoyed it because it was really moist. It had some spices in it and reminded me of a cake you would eat during fall.

Extra course

They added in this extra dessert and to be honest, I think they could have done without it because the tiny pieces of sponge cake weren’t super exciting and the chocolate brownie was too chocolatel-y for me and tasted a little over baked.

Extra surprise dessert | Sponge cake and chocolate brownie

Verdict

Overall, there were some dishes I enjoyed and some I was just okay with. They described this as a seafood tasting menu and though there was essence of seafood in most dishes, I wish there was more actual pieces of seafood. I enjoyed the variety, creativity and the perfection of all the cooking, but at the of the day, it didn’t quite meet my expectations. Because they rotate the menu, I’d be open to going again, but I think the menu that day wasn’t really suited for what I was looking for. Also, at the end of the meal, I felt full enough, but I wasn’t stuffed like I usually am at tasting dinners. I took it as it meant that there was room for drinks afterwards.

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