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Atelier Crenn--please clarify menu options for me

cherie Jun 21, 2012 05:36 PM

I am unclear about the menu options at Atelier Crenn, and their website is very mysterious. Experienced SF Chowhounds, Please help! :)
I understand from my research that the restaurant has a smaller tasting menu and a larger tasting menu, and also a vegetarian tasting menu (and now a dessert tasting menu as well). My question is this: are there choices within the different tasting menus, or is it a "you get what you get" situation?
Finally, is there an a la carte option as well?
Thanks in advance.

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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: cherie Jun 21, 2012 05:48 PM

    Is there some trick to that Web site or is it currently broken?

    1. g
      goldangl95 RE: cherie Jun 21, 2012 06:07 PM

      There is a larger tasting menu of 12 + courses for about 160, and a smaller tasting menu of 5 courses for 95. The shorter menu offers some choice (but not much), the larger menu offers none.

      That being said, given enough time and notice, Atelier Crenn is very flexible to a degree (don't eat beef let them know, want a vegetarian tasting menu, they'll figure that out etc.). However, it really really is not the place for people who like their food a certain way, love substitutions, mixing and matching etc. It's really not worth the money as the cuisine is rather experimental and there's really no point in going and splurging on Atelier Crenn if that's not what you want.

      Benu offers a la carte on weekdays (or at least they used to). Gary Danko and La Folie offer a la carte.

      12 Replies
      1. re: goldangl95
        cherie RE: goldangl95 Jun 21, 2012 06:13 PM

        Thank you. :)

        1. re: goldangl95
          Ruth Lafler RE: goldangl95 Jun 22, 2012 09:04 AM

          Based on the glowing report of a vegan tasting menu, they do better than "figure something out" with a vegetarian menu. I wouldn't hesitate to give them your dietary restrictions/preferences when you make the reservation.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            cherie RE: Ruth Lafler Jun 22, 2012 09:14 AM

            I am really intriged with Atelier Crenn--the food looks so lovely and special. But I think I am going to switch gears to Quince for our birthday celebration. We much prefer an Italian slant over a French one, and we also prefer to have some degree of choice between courses. It also seems that the atmosphere at Quince has a little more of an intimate or romantic/special occasion vibe.

            1. re: cherie
              Ruth Lafler RE: cherie Jun 22, 2012 10:29 AM

              For romantic, fine dining Italian you might also want to consider Acquerello.

              1. re: cherie
                mariacarmen RE: cherie Jun 22, 2012 03:38 PM

                Cherie - Atelier Crenn is a spectactular, once-in-a-lifetime kind of place, to me. I find it impossible to believe you'd be disappointed in any shape or form, because they will accommodate requests if asked in advance. and their food is utterly fantastic - a very, very special place, from start to finish.

                But, I've never been to Quince, so I can't comment on if that's a better option for you for this celebration.

                1. re: cherie
                  Jeff RE: cherie Jun 22, 2012 04:43 PM

                  We celebrated our anniversary last year at Quince, and it was wonderful.

                  1. re: cherie
                    calumin RE: cherie Jun 22, 2012 06:08 PM

                    When I think of Italian fine dining in San Francisco, Acquerello would be my first choice.

                    1. re: cherie
                      foggy_town RE: cherie Jun 23, 2012 03:32 PM

                      Quince is sometimes characterized as "frenchfied italian". Our recent experience (3months ago) is that the main dishes outshines pasta. We had a great Dover Sole for two.

                      1. re: cherie
                        zin1953 RE: cherie Jun 23, 2012 03:48 PM

                        Both restaurants are, indeed, wonderful, but VERY different (in my experience) from one another.

                        At Quince, pasta is indeed the star, though I've never had a bad dish -- indeed, Quince is one of the few restaurants to move/expand and retain its quality.

                        Atellier Crenn is more of a personal vision, it is more "poetic" and "artistic," and it more creative -- involving all five of your senses.

                        They are very different from each other.

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler
                        goldangl95 RE: Ruth Lafler Jun 22, 2012 09:37 AM

                        I didn't mean to suggest that they wouldn't do wonderfully if you called in advance and gave a specific directive that still allows creativity eg. want beef or wanted a vegetarian menu. What I meant was it's really not for people who want to know exactly (down to the garnish) the ingredients in each dish before they decide what to order, and then want to substiute/mix in other things. (e.g. if you are the type of person who receives a dish described sea bass, peas, potato, and goes oh! basil..I hadn't realized there was going to be basil on this...and then pick all the basil out).

                        I'm not saying the O.P. is that type of person by the way. But I have friends, who are great food lovers, who don't do tasting menus for that exact reason. They like to know exactly what they are going to get before they order. The whole "trust the chef" concept doesn't work for them.

                        1. re: goldangl95
                          cherie RE: goldangl95 Jun 26, 2012 12:07 PM

                          Thanks everyone for the valuable feedback. For now, I am pretty sure we will go with Quince. ...Though I am not completely ruling out Acquerello or Atelier Crenn.

                          1. re: cherie
                            mariacarmen RE: cherie Jun 26, 2012 02:31 PM

                            Good luck and have a great time! and please report back when you're done, ok?

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