First Look: Petit Crenn Opens in Hayes Valley

Chef Dominique Crenn launches a casual, meat-free eatery
August 6, 2015
by Amy Copperman

The gist: Petit Crenn, the latest concept from award-winning chef Dominique Crenn, is now open in Hayes Valley, and reservations are already going quickly for seats in the charming, pristinely white dining room.

The space: Though it shares a name and chef-owner, Petit Crenn has some notable differences from the acclaimed poetry-driven Atelier Crenn that put Dominique on the map as one of San Francisco’s most innovative chefs. While Atelier is stark, masculine and high-concept, the new 38-seat spot is light, airy and feminine — a celebration of the food her mother and grandmother cooked in the Brittany region of France where Crenn grew up. It’s also more casual, and the menu, though still like poetry, states ingredients instead of moods and images. An open kitchen is the focal point of the small dining room, and guests at both tables and bar seats can watch the action while they eat. Take a look around in the slide show below.

The food: The ever-changing menu will focus on vegetarian and seafood dishes served as a five-course, family-style prix fixe menu ($72 per person, including tip). Two large chalkboards showcase the variable roster of dishes, pending the best spoils from daily trips to farmer's markets. Some sample dishes include grilled and glazed pluots; Miyagi oysters with a smoked tomato gelée; grilled potatoes with whipped crème fraîche and salmon roe; and escargot in a mushroom broth. 

The drinks: Wine director Courtney Humiston will source natural wines from France including an array of champagnes, whites and rosés. Domestic and foreign ciders served Brittany-style — chilled in handmade mugs — will also be an important part of the beverage experience, offering a refreshing complement to the French flavors on the plate. 

The restaurant will start with two nightly seatings at 6 PM and 8:30 PM and eventually expand to accommodate an all-day cafe, serving Stumptown Coffee, pastries, fresh bread and omelets, along with tartines, crêpes and salads for breakfast and lunch.

The details: 609 Hayes St.; 415-864-1744

Photos by Wes Rowe

Floor-to-ceiling windows line one side of the restaurant, drenching the small dining room in natural light. 

A pale-blue-and-white color scheme recalls the seafood-laden region that inspired the concept. 

Twenty-eight seats at tables face the bar where there are 10 additional seats, offering a front-row view of the open kitchen. 

Miyagi oysters with smoked tomato gelée.

Grilled pluots from a local market. 

Grilled potato with whipped crème fraîche and salmon roe. 

dominique crenn
hayes valley