609 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102
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:
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.
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.
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.
Next, 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.
The 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.
This gnocchi and mushrooms dish accompanied the fluke – TO DIE FOR. I will never want any type of gnocchi any other way again.
We finished with a light salad – Romaine leaves that were individually brushed with a light dressing and sprinkled with dill and chives.
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.
Lastly, 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.
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!