Sunday, November 16, 2014

First-time visit to Atelier Crenn

For Rona's birthday, we ventured to the city to try a new (for us) gastronomic restaurant. We had watched French-native Chef Dominique Crenn battle on Food Network TV's "The Next Iron Chef" (2009) and "Iron Chef America" (2010, "the Yogurt battle" defeating Iron Chef Symon), and wanted to check out her mastery in person. We were able to book the 2-Michel-star restaurant Atelier Crenn three weeks in advance. At slightly over $200/person for a Chef's Menu, and $45/corkage, this is not inexpensive, but after experiencing the art of food that is Atelier Crenn, I think it's worth it. In addition to being absolutely delicious from both hedonistic and intellectual points of view, this was one of the most artistic gastronomic meals we have ever had, and that list includes a number of domestic and international Michelin-starred restaurants. The attention to visuals and especially the most amazing textures in the endless progression of the French-inspired dishes (each dish bite-size) was truly extraordinary. The place originally opened in January 2011 in the space previously occupied by PlumpJack Cafe on Fillmore St., was remodeled in the beginning of 2014. It is small, tasteful, cozy, and Chef Crenn personally coming out to greet guests was a nice touch.

The menu was presented as a poem, each line referring to a dish!

2006 Paul Pernot Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet grand cru white burgundy was drinking well. Rona loved it for her birthday. On the palate: dominant silky butteriness and lemon custard. Substantial density but not heavy or cloying. Distant nuances of dried apricot, smoke, sea salinity. Consistent profile with the same bottle I drank 2 years ago but this one was more silky and better. Very good and proper grand cru, though no fireworks - in my opinion lacking some excitement or kaleidoscopic breadth of a truly great grand cru. This was a great match to the exquisite food art cuisine, which emphasized lighter and oceany ingredients.

Savory dishes (in the order they were served)

Sweet dishes

Iron Chef slayer Chef Dominique Crenn and yours truly, Iron Chevsky.

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