*Update* Just found out Benu was award three Michelin stars for 2015! It was two Michelin star in 2014. Congratulation Benu!
One of my out-of-town friend, Kim, and her boyfriend, Charley were visiting SF and made a reservation at Benu. They wanted to try French Laundry but since it was booked the weekend they were visiting (of course!), they thought they’ll try Benu instead since the owner, Corey Lee, used to be the head chef at French Laundry prior to opening his own restaurant.
I was really excited about dinner at Benu since it was an Asian influence tasting menu and there’s not that many Asian flavor tasting menu. The testing menu was $195 per person.
Entry way of Benu.
Setting placemat. We got to keep the menu and magnet (the round light green circle with a “b”). Complimentary chocolate.
My favorite dishes were:
- thousand-year-old-quail egg, potage, ginger – i love thousand-year-old egg and tofu in my porridges so it’s a given i’ll love this dish with a twist
- oyster, pork belly, kimchi – the crunch of the kimchi holding the oyster and pork belly came together perfectly
- eel, feuille de brick, creme fraiche – the play on egg roll was chewy and delicious
- anchovy, celery, cashew – crunchy texture in one bite
- salt and pepper squid – lots of flavor with a nice crunch texture
- lobster coral xiao long bao – one of the best xiao long boa … i wished i could order more of this!
Least favorite dishes:
- xo sausage with basil curd – taste like dried salami
- beef braised in pear juice with oyster plant – too heavy and salty
- fresh and dried yuba, almond, white chocolate – definitely unique but not my favorite since i thought it was too slimy for me but the guys liked this dish
Everyone was really nice and the porcelain the dishes were on were really unique, all customized just for Benu. You can tell there were attention to detail on everything. The dishes started off strong. We all love the first half of the testing menu but as it progressed to the heavier dishes (fish and meat), there was something off. It was too heavy and salty. We were a bit disappointed in the end. It was a still a great experience being able to try Asian dishes with a twist.
My friend told me the owner, Corey Lee, is also planning to open a Korean BBQ place in SF so I’m definitely looking forward to that since there’s not that many good Korean places in the city.
22 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Which restaurant has your favorite tasting menu?