While a large part of Hayes Valley residents (and beyond) yelled out a collective “nooooooooo!” over the closure of ~BAR JULES~, now it’s time for a collective sigh over whose hands that special space is landing in: Dominique Crenn of two-Michelin-starred ~ATELIER CRENN~. (Shout-out to Hoodline for noticing the liquor license activity first.)
The new project will be called PETIT CRENN, and Crenn, who lived across the street for three years, would dine at Bar Jules frequently, which is why chef-owner Jessica Boncutter decided to pass the torch to Crenn. She knows the neighborhood well and is so excited to “continue the legacy Jessica started.”
But high-end tasting menus will not be the story here. Instead, Crenn is going to be offering a casual and homey experience, focused on the cuisine of her homeland of Brittany. It will be an homage to the dishes her mother and grandmother used to make on their farm. For Crenn, the food will be about nostalgia and creating a home away from home. Brittany is known for having some of the best vegetables in all of France, along with excellent seafood, pork, and lamb, which will all be well represented on the menu (there’s a live-fire grill in the kitchen they will keep and be cooking on). She will be offering food that is very fresh and clean and doing some sourcing from small-scale and lesser-known local farmers and producers. Rusticity will also come through with the bread service: they will be baking the famous 4- to 5-pound loaves of bread (“le pain des amis”/bread of friends) that you break apart.
Petit Crenn will be open all day, starting with a French breakfast (think a platter with housemade bread and jam, pastries, croissant, simple eggs) plus fresh juice and coffee, along with her mother’s wonderful cocoa; homemade cereal will also be available. Lunch service will include sandwiches, tartines, crêpes, and salads—Crenn loves tomatoes, so expect a lot of them when they come into season.
Dinnertime will feature an all-inclusive five-course dinner for $72, served family style. So no tipping, but if you want some cider or vin rouge, that will be up to you. The cooks will serve you directly and will be dressed in the classic striped Breton shirt. The room will also have a maritime feel, with lots of white and nautical accents. Crenn’s friends will be collaborating on the design and art for the space.
This project is part of a new business entity she has created, with different investors and separate from Atelier Crenn. But her partner and pastry chef/chef pâtissier, Juan Contreras, will be working with her to create some classic Breton desserts, a different tone from the innovative style he is known for. Stand by for more news of other hires for the project soon.
In the evening there will be reservations for the tables, and the bar will be open for walk-ins (for à la carte, oysters, and a glass of wine). Look for a July opening. 609 Hayes St. at Laguna.
The future home of Petit Crenn. Photo: © tablehopper.com.