Restaurant: benu (Tasting Menu – Part 3) Cuisine: New American/Euro-Asian/Pacific Northwest Last visited: May 7, 2013 Location: San Francisco, CA (Financial District) Address: 22 Hawthorne Ln (at Howard St) Phone: (415) 685-4860 Transit: Howard St & New Montgomery St Price Range: $50+ 1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try! Food: 5 Service: 5 Ambiance: 3.5 Overall: 4.5 Additional comments: Chef/Owner Corey Lee James Beard Award winning chef 2 Michelin [...]
If you are familiar with Chinese cuisine, or even Asian cuisine, meaning you grew up eating food from these cultures, you will experience and relate to benu’s Tasting Menu differently. For me it was personal and at times nostalgic and even challenging. It started off with a modern play on Chinese appetizers and childhood snacks which I found the most fun.
Chef Lee worked under Chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry for 8 years and was chef de cuisine for the latter half. Being classically trained in French cooking, his 2 Michelin Star restaurant benu is an eclectic and creative mix of Asian inspired Californian cuisine expertly executed with French, Asian and New American techniques.
There are no short cuts here. Their passion to do something different and creative may come across as “fusion” or “Western”, but there is a lot of thought and professional execution going into their recipes, quality of ingredients and end presentation. The dinner menu offers more creativity.
It only opened in 2011, but it has quickly risen to the top as “Vancouver’s Best Restaurant”. The pressure to be #1. It’s tough enough to get that spot and even harder to stay there. Everyone wants to be #1, so whoever gets it gets all the glory, but also all the scrutiny.
The search is on for the perfect noodle dish: prizes and fame await! Win 2 round trip tickets to Hong Kong and have your noodle dish featured on their in-flight menus! See here for details! Here is my 5 Spice Maple Roasted Squash & Edamame with Warm Soba Noodles in Miso-Sesame Soy Sauce recipe.
The Executive Chef is Damon Campbell who was one of the Team Coaches for Team Canada in 2008 for the IKA World Culinary Olympics. The menu reads and tastes Pacific Northwest, which is interesting being on the East Coast, but the tasting menu delivered, although he is capable of more.
This menu was almost an edible translation of our Buick Encore culinary itinerary. The courses foreshadowed the series of events to come which I found very smart and well played. It’s a very unique restaurant and chef’s method of approach to food and menu conceptualization are one of a kind.