HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


In from NY looking for Molecular Gastro food

Budget doesn't matter, but I am looking for a really cool molecular place in the city next Tuesday. Any recommendations?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: goldangl95

      That's the main modernist place in this area. That style hasn't caught on too big here.

      1. re: goldangl95

        Second Atelier Crenn.

        The biggies that are using Molecular are Benu, Manresa, Coi and Crenn. Of the four, Crenn is consistently my favorite.

      2. Atelier Creen would be my favorite. Benu also does some. Most versions here mix the local ingredients simple prep with modernist technique. Commonwealth and AQ also do dish with MG technique.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tjinsf

          AQ uses the occasional modernist trick but they're pretty subtle about it.

        2. Commis in Oakland is pretty good too - not WD-50 style modernist - but with that sort of twist. The food is definitely worth the trip across the bay.

          1. Has anyone been to Baume recently? I went years ago and wonder if there's any recent update from a chowhound user?

            1 Reply
            1. re: sparkerly

              I was at Baume last month and I think it is worth the trek from SF to Palo Alto over Atelier Crenn. I liked Atelier Crenn, but my first time there I left hungry and was lucky to find a late nite sushi place to fill me up. I like Atelier Crenn, but I am not bowled over by it.

            2. Agree with all the others about Crenn. It's fun and relaxing with sometimes crazy food. Desserts are to die for.

              1. I have to dissent about Atelier Crenn...I found the full tasting menu to be pretty forgettable on the whole. This is coming from someone who loves both modernist and more traditional cuisine and has been to the Fat Duck, Alinea, season tickets at Next, Noma, Le Calandre, Can Roca etc. and would plan a whole vacation around any of them.

                I will say that I appreciated at least a couple of Crenn's early courses in that the complexity of ingredients actually played out well together, though not the kind of tastiness I would crave on a regular basis. The rest of the courses really did remind me about what I've heard that Crenn is really more about style than substance.

                The deserts looked kind of cool, but for my tastes were far too sweet or overwhelmed by one flavor (eucalyptus, beets). Finally, I don't claim to be a wine expert but the wine pairing was disappointing.

                Again, not as wildly molecular as the well-known places of the world, but I also recommend Benu as the best in the city. That menu had enough wows to become a well-earned 2-3 Michelin star destination worth a flight for.

                4 Replies
                1. re: W42

                  I would second your opinion on Atelier Crenn in terms of satisfying food - it was too up and down in terms of quality for me. I did like the desserts however. I will say that I found the plating creative and beautiful - much more so than Benu.

                  Benu has been my favorite tasting room experience for this year as it had the whole package - food I enjoyed, service was impeccable, and the wine pairings were first rate.

                  1. re: goldangl95

                    Disagree. To me, Benu was very good, very solid, and I would recommend. But Atelier Crenn was a total delight, and from me it gets a much stronger recommendation.

                    1. re: pauliface

                      I've been to Benu twice and Crenn three times. Both Benu visits left me VERY wanting and mostly un-inspired. Crenn had me giggling and full of anticipation.

                    2. re: goldangl95

                      I think if you want safer and more consistent flavours then yes Benu is the winner hands down but I just find my meals at Atelier Creen to be more memorial and more delightful.

                  2. atelier crenn for sure. delicious, gorgeous, exciting, and ever-surprising food. thought-provoking, not precious. lovely calm space, great service. Ms. Crenn adds a personal touch to ever meal by coming out to speak to her diners.