My husband and I do an awful lot of eating – both my own cooking at home, cooking with friends and family and of course eating out. We love nothing more than to try new restaurants that have an interesting chef, are in an interesting location, or simply have interesting food that we can enjoy. Not surprising that we’re always on the lookout for those new hot spots, preferably before they become so hot that you can’t get a reservation! And they don’t have to be local either. While we never did make it to Spain to feat at Ferran Adria’s famous El Bulli, we’ve definitely done our fair share of travel around the world to eat at some of the finest restaurants.
Here’s a sampling of a few of our favorites around the world:
- Per Se, New York
- Cyrus, Healdsburg, CA
- Sebo Sushi, San Francisco
- Michael Mina, San Francisco
- Atelier du Joel Robuchon, Paris
- Maze by Gordon Ramsay, London
- Comerc 24, Barcelona
- Passadis del Pep, Barcelona
- Alinea, Chicago
- Zaika, London
- El Farallon, Cabo San Lucas
…and the list could go on for pages. Suffice it to say, we appreciate great food and have had some unbelievably outstanding meals through the years.
A couple of months ago, a friend recommended a restaurant in San Francisco calledAtelier Crenn, owned and operated by Chef Dominique Crenn. She has earned 3 Michelin stars (one in each of the past 3 years) and the web site looked fascinating – Chef Crenn calls her food ‘poetic culinaria’, and I’d say the pictures of her food would support that name well.
We had the 12 course tasting menu, which may sound a bit overwhelming, but each dish was small in size and not at all heavy. I applaud Chef Crenn’s use of fresh ingredients and light sauces to keep everything from weighing down the diner. Every single plate was delectable, gorgeous to look at, and absolutely delicious. The preparation of each dish is a wonder in creativity and uses a number of different cooking methods (sous vide, reductions, gastriques, gelees, and so much more). Her food is truly poetic, both in conception and in flavor.
At the end of the meal, we were delighted with every bite we’d eaten…and better yet, we’d eaten EVERY bite. And weren’t stuffed to the gills either. Unlike eating at Per Se or The French Laundry, where there is so much fat and richness in each dish that you literally cannot eat all the food, this was beautiful, seductive, interesting, delicious and ‘just right’ meal on every front.
We were lucky enough, mid-meal, to meet Chef Crenn, who came by the table and blushingly received our compliments on her cooking. Even better, we ran into her the next afternoon while attending the SF Chefs Festival, and she recognized us from the prior evening.
(not a great pic, but all I had with me was my iPhone!) We had a lovely chat with her, and again told her that hers was absolutely one of our favorite meals of all time. We said we enjoyed it more than French Laundry or Per Se (although we’ve loved both), and that her creative flair is on par with that of Grant Achatz of Alinea fame. She again blushed at our enthusiasm, and we parted with a promise to come in soon for her new menu (she changes it seasonally). We have reservations in September.
Run, don’t walk, to this fabulous establishment before it gets its deserved 3 Michelin stars rather than 1, and a reservation is near impossible to come by.