Bauer Is ‘Enchanted and Perplexed’ by Atelier Crenn; Unterman Reviews Ballpark Food
Finally coming off his Top 100 whirlwind, the indefatigable Mr. Bauer finally files his review of two-month-old Atelier Crenn, Dominique Crenn's solo effort in the former PlumpJack spot on Fillmore and Filbert. His take is a touch more positive than Kauffman's but similarly conflicted on the food-as-art theme; he begins by making a reference to Lily Tomlin's bag lady character Trudy when confronted with post-modernism. "When the first dish arrived, I felt like Trudy holding a can of Campbell's soup and an Andy Warhol painting saying: 'This is soup. This is art.'" Now, art-y food shouldn't come as such a shock to the Chron critic, but as he elaborates, "the execution [of Crenn's dishes] always delights the eye, but not necessarily the palate." He calls the potato "Memoire d'Enfance" dish "soulful," and says of "The Sea" dish that "it all tastes as fresh as the presentation."
But of a dramatically presented oyster-and-prawn dish with nitrogen-created pearls of sturgeon, he says, "While the presentation rocked, the prawn tasted mushy." (Yes, Bauer just used the term "rocked.") Also, he says the wine list is confusing, but he enjoys several of Juan Contras's desserts, especially some individually wrapped salted caramels. All told: two and a half stars. [Chron]
And Patti U. took a little break from the ethnic restaurant beat on Friday to check out the new concessions at AT&T Park, in honor of the Giants' home opener. She finds her favorite thing is still a Hebrew National hot dog, but she also rather enjoys the eggplant parmesan sandwich at the "North Beach" stand in section 127, and she calls the chipped chopped ham sandwich at Public House "addictive." [Examiner]