San Francisco is now home to America’s first two-Michelin-starred female chef who is also a poet.
Atelier Crenn, run by chef Dominique Crenn, was the only new entrant to the prestigious two-star category in the 2013 Michelin Guide for the Bay Area and Wine Country.
The Marina-district restaurant serves a five-course menu for $95. There’s also a longer tasting at $160, though it’s difficult to say precisely what’s for dinner. In the space on the online menu where a venue typically describes the restaurant’s offerings, Atelier Crenn instead publishes a 13-line poem, penned mostly in English:
“Autumn whispers the untold memories/Mellow serenades of colors of red and green./Fallen leaf of crispy autumn scene/The glowing ocean and light ecume de mer,” writes the French-born Crenn.
When asked about the literary side of the restaurant, the editor-in-chief of the U.S. Michelin guides, who doesn’t give out her name to maintain anonymity, said that “the cooking at Atelier Crenn, as well as the style of the restaurant, is very much an expression of Dominique’s personality,” adding that “she’s creative; she’s artistic; she’s a little spiritual, and she’s a little bit rock and roll.”
Perhaps she’s a little pastoral too.
All the other members of the two-star category -- Baume, Benu, Coi, Manresa and Saison, kept their honors. There were three new entrants to the one-star category: All Spice, SPQR and Keiko a Nob Hill.
There were no new entrants to the three-star category; Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry and Christopher Kostow’s The Restaurant at Meadowood both retained that coveted status.
Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two stars are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one star denotes a very good restaurant in its category.
Michelin & Cie is the world’s second-biggest tiremaker, after Bridgestone Corp. It produced its first guide in August 1900, distributed free (until 1920) and intended for chauffeurs.
The Michelin Guide San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country 2013 goes on sale today for $18.99.
The San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country restaurants awarded stars are: Three Michelin Stars: The French Laundry The Restaurant at Meadowood Two Michelin Stars: Atelier Crenn Baume Benu Coi Manresa Saison One Michelin Star: Acquerello Alexander’s Steakhouse All Spice Ame Auberge du Soleil Aziza Bouchon Boulevard Campton Place Chez TJ Commis Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant Frances Gary Danko Keiko a Nob Hill La Costanera La Folie La Toque Luce Madera Madrona Manor Masa’s Michael Mina Plumed Horse Quince Redd Solbar Sons & Daughters SPQR Spruce Terra Terrapin Creek The Village Pub Wakuriya
(Ryan Sutton writes about New York City restaurants for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
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