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Feb 19, 2012 01:33 AM

SF Tasting Menu w/ Accomodations?

Ugh, I spelled accommodations wrong.

I am planning to take a friend out to dinner for her birthday/engagement and was hoping to go somewhere like Coi, Atelier Crenn or Saison. Unfortunately, my friend is allergic to shellfish and all of the menus at those restaurants seem to be heavy on the shellfish. In addition, she prefers traditional ingredients (e.g. won't eat sweetbreads, uni or foie), although I would not call her picky.

Does anyone have experience requesting a modified tasting menu at any of those restaurants, or any similar restaurants? I hate being the high maintenance guest but I'm also willing to give it a shot for her sake, if someone has found a particular restaurant to be very nice about it.

Also, we've already been to Quince, Fleur de Lys, Gary Danko and Fifth Floor and I'd like to try somewhere new.

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  1. I would suggest that you call the restaurants that you are interested in and ask them how they would handle your particular case. Here's an article on accommodations that mentions both Coi and Saison.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nocharge

      Yes, I realize I can call the restaurant and I also realize certain restaurants say they are open to making adjustments. What I'm looking for is someone who has actually been through the process so I can hear how the final experience was and whether it's worth the trouble.

      1. re: bkbits

        i don't eat foie gras. Anytime I go, I tell them that when I make a reservation. Usually my server will mention that the menu won't include it. if not, while they are taking my order I remind them of it. Never was an issue,. That was only one item though.

        Most of these places also have vegetarian tasting menus as well, so it probably isn't difficult to them to switch in a veggie dish. I'm not saying she's going to get veggie dishes, but they make more than just one tasting menu. Some make different dishes for each person at the table. They have a range of things they make.

        Call and while making a reservation tell them about the limitations. If they seem reluctant on the phone, find another restaurant.

    2. They seem very accommodating @ Atelier Crenn. At the outset of the meal they ask about any allergies or aversions. My bf won't eat foie and they were happy to suggest an equivalent sub. He ended up subbing a couple of courses and they did it effortlessly and without any advance notice. I don't recall shellfish in a lot of the courses actually. The things your friend won't eat are common requests, and I would think any restaurant of that caliber can handle it well.

      1. For Atelier Crenn:
        If it's simply a few ingredients that your friend can identify, just call ahead and they'll figure something out. As others have said, shellfish or foie gras removals are very common.

        If it goes beyond that however, I would suggest NOT going to Atelier Crenn.

        Atelier Crenn's specialty is taking unique ingredients, putting them in unique forms, and making unique combinations. It's just not worth the money if one does not appreciate these things. I eat everything and am willing to eat most flavors, and I was challenged by a few of the combinations. If your friend is the type to look at the menu, and hesitate, and be like oh no! I'm not sure about fennel with x or I didn't think about venison etc. I think your friend would be better served at a different restaurant.

        There are plenty of other restaurants in the city putting out amazing food where their mission is less boundary pushing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: goldangl95

          Crenn also has a vegetarian tasting menu (as do most high-end restaurants in the city). I would absolutely recommend them, or at a lower price point, Commonwealth.

        2. Any of the top restaurants where you're paying a large chunk of $$$ should by definition accommodate a common request and shellfish is pretty common. The better the place, the easier, more seemless it should go.

          Re: sweetbreads, etc...just don't tell them if they'd eat it and aren't particularly picky. They might like it.

          1. Coi would not accommodate a friend's dietary requests but I would call and check of course for your particulars. Atelier Creen has always been willing to try to accommodate but I did have one instance where they forgot a substitution which we caught before the person ate the dish.