As part of SF Chefs 2012, a Dinner Party Project between Chefs Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn) and Jason Fox (Commonwealth) proved to be a very successful collaboration by the modernist cuisine experts.
The evening started off with a Campari-Orange aperitivo that was paired with 2 amuse bouche courses. The Campari “bon bon,” created by Atelier Crenn’s Pastry Chef Juan Contreras, a delicate ball of white chocolate filled with citrus juices and topped with Campari gelée tasted exactly like the cocktail:
The second amuse by Chef Fox featured a compressed watermelon topped with kampachi tartare. The compressed watermelon looked and had the same mouthfeel as an ahi tuna sashimi.
The meal started off with a dish from Chef Fox featuring uni, geoduck and sea beans sitting on top of wasabi gel. It was served with tapioca pearls, micro basil and topped with cucumber sorbet:
Both of the first courses were paired with an Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain. Chef Crenn’s course was a modern take on Coquille St. Jacques. A small bunch of seaweed came with the scallop where we were instructed to eat them like grapes – each ‘sea grape’ provided a small burst of ocean salty goodness:
Next up from Chef Fox was corn pudding that offered various textures of corn (creamed, whole kernels, nitro frozen popcorn), sweetbread and okra tempura. A 2006 Meurseault paired perfectly with this and the next course:
Chef Crenn countered with a dish simply called “Tomato.” Various cherry tomatoes sat atop an almost invisible sliver of lardo in the bowl. Topped with tomato-olive butter and served with an intense tomato sorbet, trout roe and goat cheese drops, the dish was all brought together by a tomato consommé poured tableside. “Tomato” was indeed the perfect description for this excellent dish:
Chef Fox’s butter poached rubyfish served on top of bone marrow soubise was next. Accompanying the flaky sous vide fish were very thin slices of fresh porcini, pickled hearts of palm and English peas. This surf and turf dish and the next course were nicely paired with a lighter Pinot Noir from Willammette Valley, Oregon:
Chef Crenn ended the savory courses with “Birth.” When we saw the description, the first thing that came to mind was eggs and it was exactly what was delivered to the table. A corn silk nest resting on top of chocolate twigs held ‘eggs’ of duck and peach. It was served with a teacup filled with duck consomme that was to be sipped in between egg bites:
The meal ended with a coconut dessert by Chef Contreras that was really unbelievable – it tasted of coconut and pineapple. It had the right amount of sweetness and paired perfectly with the late harvest Vouvray from Pinon:
We eat at least once a month at Commonwealth so we were familiar with Chef Fox’s creativity but we had never been to Atelier Crenn until this evening. We made a point to return soon to experience the full treatment of Chef Crenn’s poetic culinaria.