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Michelin Guide Honors Crenn’s Poetic Menu With Two Stars

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Thomas Keller
Thomas Keller, the owner of Per Se and the French Laundry, eats at Yakitori Totto. He says the food is very good and they don't make a fuss over him. Photographer: Richard Vines/Bloomberg

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- 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.

Honors Kept

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.)

Muse highlights include Philip Boroff on Broadway and Rich Jaroslovsky on gadgets.

To contact the writer of this column: Ryan Sutton in New York at rsutton1@bloomberg.net or qualityrye on http://twitter.com/qualityrye

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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