Atelier Crenn offers 6-course dessert tasting menu, $55
I used my friends' birthdays as the perfect foil to treat them (and me) to the dessert tasting w wine pairing last night. It was almost too much of a good thing because I'm not much of a dessert person. However, I'm a fan of visual wizardry at Atelier Crenn and this meal didn't disappoint.
Our tasting started w cremant served in shallow champagne goblets and then two small tastes:
- Kir Breton: white chocolate globes filled with sparkling apple cider and topped w a dab of raspberry puree. these were served on tiny pedestals which you lift to your mouth. elfin and refreshing.
- Untitled: the main elements I recall were an apple sorbet with shiso leaf. visually similar to the kir breton but served inside hollowed rocks. (it's kind of funny to think how the AC servers spend a fair amount of their evening carrying rocks and bonsai about instead of plates. . .)
The first of two full desserts:
Betterave: a storybook beet presented as if it had been plucked out of the earth moments ago. the beet was a perfectly shaped scoop of beet sorbet with a long chocolate root (and real beet leaf) nestled on almond, oat, chocolate dirt, accented with mandarin gelee and little herbs. the perfect essence of beet was further enhanced by the port (sorry, I'm the person who can rarely recall wine details even if I enjoy the taste very much). a very charming dish.
Next up: Eucalyptus, a creamy (like ice cream but harder), chilled eucalypt scented lollipop served on a stem presented from a bonsai arrangement. very refreshing.
The second full dessert is the showstopper: Aubergine Fumee: cashew brittle, candied eggplant, meringue, ash, charcoal/smoke served on a custom "hibachi". Contreras himself came out and spooned (edible) ash onto this deconstructionist fantasy. The servers then poured a liquid into the hibachi bottom and foglike smoke spread over the tabletop and poured onto our laps for a few minutes! A very subtle aroma to the smoke. Magical and made better with a few sips of honeyed tokaji.
We ended with mignardises of ganaches, gold leaf coated dark chocolate shards, sea salt caramels, pate de fruits, marshmallows presented on a log and a custom chocolate shard holder.
I was a lot of sweets for me even though none of it was particularly sweet. I would love it if somehow they tweaked the format just a bit and presented it as an after dinner meal: salad, cheese, perhaps fewer sweets. That would be a more perfect ending for me, one that I could enjoy more frequently. Nonetheless, my friends were awed and it was a fun way to celebrate with them.
We visited Atelier Creen this past weekend and had the new spring menu along with some of the new desserts. Bottom line, things just keep getting more interesting. The oyster leaf, which I've never had before, was a wonderful surprise.
The new eggplant dessert is ridiculous and inspired on so many levels. The experience of it has stuck with me for a few days now. We didn't take any photos, but there is a video of it here for the curious: