Review: Petite Crenn

Petite Crenn
609 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102
http://www.petitcrenn.com/

This is becoming an annual tradition, where we dine at fancy Michelin restaurants for David’s birthday. After watching Dominque Crenn on Chef’s Table, I just had to visit Petite Crenn in Hayes Valley. This quaint little shop serves up a mean seafood family-style prix fixe inspired by Crenn’s homeland – the Brittany region of France. David and I went to celebrate his 33rd and we loved it.

Menu for the evening:
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We started with this delicious fresh-baked pita bread and a type of hummus. I love that I could see the chefs in the kitchen charring the bread. So toasty and yet soft at the same time.1120161814_HDR

These little British Columbia oysters followed, and they were bite-sized and really mild in flavor. Not too briny, not too unctuous, and the mignonette wasn’t overpowering either. 1120161827_HDR

Next, we had this charred squid stuffed with wild rice in some sort of tomato-based sauce (I think?). Great texture, not over-cooked squid. I love that the wild rice added this nuttiness to the dish. So yum. I plan on recreating this one for the blog at some point.
1120161844a_HDRNext, we had these cute little puffs that were dotted with honey and a bit of cheese. I probably could have eaten a dozen by myself.
1120161827b_HDRThe main course was this perfectly cooked fluke and beurre blanc. The fish was flaky and still moist, and the rich beurre blanc was a great complement. Side note, I love that each dish is intended to be shared, so David and I took turns serving each other. It makes the environment really convivial and intimate. Ooh, also of note in this image – we ordered a bottle of cider to share, and it was served in traditional Brittan ceramic mugs or tea cups. Super cute, I am so in love. For reference, we had the Eric Bordelet Granit Poire ($70! yikes), and it was really tasty! On the sweeter, fruitier side and really refreshing. 1120161913_HDR

This gnocchi and mushrooms dish accompanied the fluke – TO DIE FOR. I will never want any type of gnocchi any other way again.
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Also served alongside the main course was this grilled squash dish – the crutons provided a great texture contrast to the sweet squash and thick vichyssoise.
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We finished with a light salad – Romaine leaves that were individually brushed with a light dressing and sprinkled with dill and chives.
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Dessert was a lovely bowl of beignets for dipping in chocolate and milk jam (essentially a reduced milk aka dulce de leche). I like that neither the chocolate or milk jam were sweet – nice and mild – like everything else about this meal.
1120162008_HDRLastly, mini sweets to nibble on as the conversation and evening died down. A sable, pate de fruit, and a piece of fudge served in a shell – another nod to Crenn’s coastal roots.
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There is an overwhelming sense of gentleness and delicateness to this meal that is hard to describe in words. The whole meal aims to not offend – everything is mild and graceful and soft. Nothing polarizes, the food and service and ambiance – it tiptoes. All the while, the conversations are warm and the company golden hued. Perhaps it is a reflection of Brittany and the local culture and lifestyle. I found it all really endearing. I would definitely recommend a trip to Petite Crenn – reservations open exactly 1 month to the date you intend to reserve, so make sure to do that. There are only 2 seatings each night (only 1 on Sunday’s at 6pm). Corkage fees are a bit steep at $45 a bottle, but the wine selection is quite rich and I’m sure you’ll find something you like. They feature only one French beer, but the cider menu is also a great option. Lastly, price already includes gratuity, so feel free walking out the door without having to do any additional number crunching. Enjoy!

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