I have neither the time nor the interest in reliving our 3.5-hour debacle of a dinner at Atelier Crenn. What I will say is that I’ve eaten in two-star Michelin restaurants in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. Atelier Crenn is no two-star restaurant.
From the meal’s outset through to dessert, we were caught in a cobweb of lunacy. The sommelier declined to provide a partial wine pairing but had no problem serving a $55 bottle of warm Prosecco minutes later; servers exuded a level of enthusiasm one might expect to find from prison guards (is staff meal laced with beta blockers?); the prison parallels extended to our crammed four-top, where service staff punted the legs of my chair so many times I thought they were struggling to contain their excitement for the impending World Cup.
And then there’s the food, which would make for a great Saturday Night Live sketch or an episode of Portlandia, or even a riff on Swift’s land of Lilliput, but not a $250+ meal. It was as if food was being seasoned blind-folded. Half of Chef Crenn’s signature mushroom dish was graced with salt, while the opposite side of the plate seemed as if it had been prepared by a Chopped contestant. Our final meat course, a tranch of guinea hen, experienced the same fate with one lemony burst followed by insipidity. Dessert—with, inter alia, its diaphanous piece of Matcha green tea-topped nori followed shortly thereafter by a “chocolate course” that would constitute petite fours in any other restaurant—has to have been a parody. I genuinely wonder if the restaurant conducted randomized trials to determine what would leave patrons most unsatisfied.
In short, dear reader, spare yourself the overflowing disappointment and visit Benu, Coi, Quince or any number of other restaurants in San Francisco instead.
Here are photos from the meal: https://www.flickr.com/photos/82765022@N03/sets/72157645064983142/