The Most Anticipated Restaurant of the Year, Benu, Opens Today

Expectations are through the stratosphere for Benu, which opens today in San Francisco, to unparalleled fanfare.

Discriminating diners have been salivating over every detail that has emerged over the past few months about this new restaurant from Chef Corey Lee, the esteemed former chef de cuisine of the French Laundry in Yountville.

Reservations already have been going fast on OpenTable for Lee’s first restaurant, with tables already nabbed as far out as late September.

But that’s not surprising, given Lee’s stature in the culinary world. The James Beard award-winning chef has built a restaurant, where every detail has been meticulously considered — from the specially designed porcelain plateware to the private wine lockers to the first-of-its-kind Viking cooking suite in the kitchen.

Indeed, Lee’s architect, the award-winning Richard Bloch of New York, calls this the most custom restaurant he’s ever worked on. It’s also the first restaurant that the French Laundry’s Thomas Keller has invested in that’s not one of his own.

Learn just what it took to build this elegant restaurant, housed in the former Hawthorne Lane-cum-Two restaurant space just a hop away from the W Hotel. Read all about it in my story in the September issue of Food Arts magazine.

The food is modern with Asian sensibilities. The opening tasting menu ($120) includes the likes of lobster curry with fragrant rice, grapes, almonds and cilantro; and monkfish liver torchon with apple relish, brioche and ramps. An `a la carte menu ($12 to $30) also is available, featuring snapping turtle veloute with langostine; Berkshire pork loin with smoked belly, black soy beans, sauteed lettuce and clam sauce; and desserts such as douglas fir meringue with blackberries, candy cap sable and cream.

Here’s what the place looked like in May:

And here’s a peek at what it looks like now:

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Date: Tuesday, 10. August 2010 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Restaurants, Thomas Keller/French Laundry/Et Al

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  1. 1

    Have to get on Open Table STAT!

  2. 2

    I can’t wait to try this place. It’s hard for me to get out to Napa and French Laundry (and to get a reservations) so it’ll be nice to try that standard of cooking closer to home.

  3. 3

    The window shot looking into the kitchen (is that the kitchen?) is so fabulous! It’s the modern fairytale scene.

  4. 4

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CarolynJung and NewAsianCuisine, Niwa PR. Niwa PR said: RT @carolynjung Korean American Award winning Chef formerly of French Laundry Corey Lee opens Benu in SF today […]

  5. 5

    Boy, am I glad I made rezzies last month! can’t wait to try it. :P

  6. 6

    It looks great but what do I do for the second and third bite? When I go out to eat, I want a meal for my money! If I want an appetizer, I will go to a Happy Hour somewhere. Sorry but I can’t see paying a huge price for a small bite.

  7. 7

    Hope the opening lives up to the anticipation. I want to taste the douglas fir meringue! Sounds fantastic.

  8. 8

    A completely out-of-my-budget restaurant! :O Too bad I can’t try it anytime soon.

  9. 9

    Thanks for the info. Can’t wait for a special occasion to try it!

  10. 10

    Beautiful place! What a transformation! We better get the full scoop after you eat there :)

  11. 11

    Nice job, Carolyn. D. Kinch and D. Patterson were talking about Corey’s new resto last week. You’ve teased and tantalized us all.

  12. 12

    Looks great! I’d love to visit this place after the initial mob disperses.

  13. 13

    Wow, that does sounds very hotly anticipcated and with Thomas Keller’s stamp of approval surely it is meant to be a success! :o

  14. 14

    Wow, I bet its going to be awesome! I want to go!!!!!!!!!!!
    *kisses* HH

  15. 15

    OMG! Bennu is defintely a place to be.Chef Corey lee is defitely the architect of those locely creation, so when will you be going to taste his exquisite cuisine?

  16. 16

    Looking through those window into the kitchen and observing the chefs embarking their dishes can be such an experience, Benu is the place to be!

  17. 17

    Wow! That looks fantastic. That lobster tail (or is it langoustine?) reminds me of one that I had at the French Laundry.

  18. 18

    Slight correction: when the doors finally opened the tasting menu was $160, not $120. The wine pairing for the tasting menu is $110.

  19. 19

    PJH: Thanks for that update. They must have upped the price from what they thought they would charge pre-opening.

  20. 20

    So, he’s returning to the madness. Good for him. What an endorsement… TK as an investor! Sounds fabulous. :)

  21. 21

    Anticipation doesn’t even cut it, all my foodie friends have been wandering around with bated breath. A few have even snagged the reservations, not me though so I can’t wait to hear the details.

  22. 22

    […] Some Before and After Photos of Benu During Construction Share and […]

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