When I first decided to start a blog, I named it SamStewartEtc as I was hoping my friends who love food as much as I do would write posts about their meals and I would publish them on the site. My friend Danielle (aka Dani) who lives in Sausalito was one of the ones I was hoping would write.
I recently was in New York and as I waited to meet someone for lunch at The Nomad, I saw Dominique Crenn seated on a corner enjoying her croissant and I dared to interrupt her and ask if she would mind a quick interview. She was absolutely fantastic and I was mesmerized with her beauty, charm and honesty. It also really made me want to fly to San Francisco to eat at Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn.
Here is my interview link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge_bA1opEPo
I immediately messaged my friend Dani and told her she needed to book asap. I also asked if she would write a post….and she agreed! Dani and I met during my Vegas years and we worked for the same company. Having her and her husband Mike in Vegas at the same time made the whole experience way more tolerable . When they then moved to California, she started her own wine distribution business www.maisonduprixwines.com and it was my go to site whenever I needed to buy wine. She also always helped me when I needed to impress someone with a gift telling me what wine was a good deal that would also impress people. Hence, this post of course has a lot of good wine info, which I am not as good with…….. So, here it goes, and hoping this is the first of many guest posts Mrs. Price!
Review by Danielle Price
Petit Crenn has been on my list of San Francisco restaurants to try for some time now but it wasn’t until I saw Sam Stewart’s amazing interview with Dominique Crenn, the proprietor, the evening before the big 50 Best Restaurant Awards in New York City that I finally made a reservation for June 30. This was a wise decision because Dominique Crenn ended up being crowned “Best Female Chef in The World” the following day and I can only image that securing a reservation at her 28 seat Hayes Valley restaurant is now far more difficult.
Petit Crenn serves a family-style five course dinner menu with seating’s at 6pm and 8:30pm for $72 which includes gratuity. I was the first of our party to arrive for our 6pm seating which gave me time to check out the wine list before my husband and friends arrived. The wine list is small and eclectic with a number of interesting selections that I could tell were all carefully chosen to compliment the cuisine. We started our evening off with the Domaine Richou Chenin Blanc 2015 from Anjou ($52) – I love Chenin Blanc and have vowed to drink more of it this summer.
The first thing to come out of the kitchen was the most sublime yet simple grilled sourdough bread with delightful soft, salty butter. The thick sourdough slices were crunchy, chewy, and buttery – it was difficult to hold a conversation as I was in gluten heaven!
Our first course was a perfectly chilled Kusshi Oyster with an Albion strawberry mignonette. It was delicious but a tease as I wanted 5 more they were so good!
Next came Gnocchi A La Parisienne which was OUTSTANDING – this was a showstopper dish. Delicate and tender gnocchi with sweet summer corn, English peas, hen of the woods mushrooms and a succulent creamy sauce. We devoured this blissful dish and it was without question the highlight of our meal.
We paired it with the Gerard Duplessis Montee de Tonnerre Premier Cru Chablis 2013 ($70) – a classic ripe Chablis with bright green apple, flint and stone fruits with precise minerality and a long lovely finish.
Our main course was a gorgeous seabass served with crispy garlic and a yummy mystery sauce. The fish was cooked perfectly and the crispy garlic was divine.
The sides were equally as impressive – simple roasted heirloom carrots with honey and mint along with a white bean salad with a red leek vinaigrette.
At the suggestion of the sommelier we paired this dish with Domaine de La Tournelle L’Uva Arbosiana 2014 ($62) – a light bodied “natural red wine” (organic wine made with very little or no additives, pesticides or Sulphur) which displayed lovely notes of strawberry jam and vibrant acidity. This wine paired well with the fish and it was really fun to try something new and different in spite of my generally not being a big fan of natural wines.
We were next served a salad of little gems with ripe sun gold tomatoes, gruyere cheese and a caper anchovy vinaigrette. I was very full at this point (in the best possible way, of course) and have a general dislike for anchovy’s so was not very excited about this dish. But after one bite of this vibrant and fresh salad I was thrilled to eat like the French and discovered that I do in fact enjoy anchovy’s!
Dessert arrived next – it was chocolate and coffee eclairs with mixed berries and mint. I enjoyed this dessert a lot and liked that the chocolate was not too sweet, but the dish did not blow me away like some of the other dishes did.
And finally, our evening concluded with a lovely collection of mignardises.
The homey dishes we enjoyed are all inspired by Dominique’s Grandmother and her hometown of Brittany on the coast of France. I found that there was also a great deal of Northern Californian influence as she included many seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers in her dishes. One thing I know for sure is that there was a great deal of passion and love put into every dish we had and I really look forward to returning to Petit Crenn seasonally! If you are ever in the San Francisco area and can get a reservation, I highly recommend Petit Crenn.
609 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102, United States
Picture post interview with Dominique Crenn