After a long 8 years working under one of the greatest chef in the world Thomas Keller, Corey Lee decided to leave French Laundry and build his own restaurant named Benu. Benu was opened in 2010 and quickly gained several accolades such us “10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride” by new york times, and even received two Michelin star in 2012.

The restaurant serves tasting menu and a la carte on weekdays. Here, Corey Lee seems to play with his Asian blood by delivers ambitious Asian cuisine on fine dining level.


Instead of serving bread, Benu serves this crisp lavash.

 IMG_1615Thousand-year-old quail egg, Potage, Ginger

Thousand-year-old egg flavor is not something new among Asian, especially Chinese, we might eat that thousand times paired with a bowl of porridge, but this dish was really a great start, the potage brought a warm and homey feeling.

 IMG_1616Oyster, Pork belly, Kimchi

Couldn’t really taste the kimchi, but the filing was good. It just melt in your mouth and very tasty.

 IMG_1617Potato salad with anchovy

Tasted like a normal potato salad. The anchovy cut the richness of the salad. It’s a pretty normal dish for me.

 IMG_1619Monkfish Liver, Peach, Daikon, Perilla, Brioche

Here it is, Foie Gras from the sea, the monkfish liver is creamy and plays really well as a spread for the bread.

 IMG_1620Eel, Feuille de brick, Crème fraiche, Lime

The fresh water eel wrapped in feuille de brick was good, but nothing special about it.

 IMG_1622Mozzarella, Basil, Xo sauce

This was tasted like a slice of pizza for me.

 IMG_1624Salt and pepper squid

Next, is a twist of texture from the normal salt and pepper squid transformed into a seafood cracker with squid on top. It’s quite interesting but not mind blowing.

 IMG_1626Foie Gras xiao long bao

Quite disappointed with this Xiao Long Bao. I think you can find a better Xiao Long Bao in the normal Chinese restaurant. This was just tasted normal, and lacking the taste of the Foie Gras itself.

 IMG_1627Omasum tripe, Shrimp, Yellow chive, Lovage

Surprisingly, I quite like the tripe. It was cooked beautifully and so did the prawn. The broth was sweet and sour.

 IMG_1629Asparagus, Sunchoke, Almond, Cherry blossom

Perfectly grilled asparagus combined with the sunchoke almond and cherry blossom worked well.

 IMG_1630Chicken velvet, Abalone, Abalone mushroom, Chrysanthemum

 IMG_1631Sea bass, lobster, lily bulb

This is a great piece of perfectly cooked sea bass, but wait, the journey didn’t stop there, you’ll find a hidden treasure underneath the fish. Lobster terrine. They just brought you instantly to the sky. It was extremely good. The only comment about this dish is the sauce was slightly over powering the main.

IMG_1632Duck, Celery, Scallion, Shaoxing wine, Black truffle bun

This is my favorite dish on that night. The duck was tender, cooked perfectly, and so do the sauce. The bun, heaven!! It was soft, packed of flavor. Amazing bun!

 IMG_1633Beef braised in pear, Beech Mushroom, Sunflower seeds and Leaves

The combination of beef and pear as the marinade reminds me of Korean way of cooking their beef. This dish was really tasty, I think Chef Lee wanted to introduce his Korean root into this dish.

 IMG_1636“Shark fin” soup, Dungeness crab, Jinhua ham, Black truffle custard

The broth was delicious, and the more you dig into it, you’ll find the black truffle custard. Excellent dish.

 IMG_1637Strawberry, White chocolate, Yuzu

Refreshing palate cleanser.

 IMG_1639Spice cake, Blueberry, Yogurt, Oatmeal ice cream

You can’t eat each element on this dessert by itself. It’s a little bit unpleasant. But when you eat these components together, they’ll work harmoniously in your mouth. It’s very interesting


Selection of amazing chocolates.

Eating at Benu was like eating in a 21st century Chinese restaurant where the kitchen brigades apply the high end technique such as sous vide to the traditional method such as Chinese bamboo steaming. There are two possibilities on the way you’ll appreciate this restaurant. You can see this as a daring, bold, and creative meal, or as a boring Chinese food, but dressed nicely. But overall, Corey Lee has prove that he’s a tough competitor on this game.

Benu Restaurant

22 Hawthorne Street  San Francisco CA 94105

Benu is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday

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1 Comment


     /  August 9, 2012

    Nice! 🙂


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