Friday, July 31, 2015

Benu Restaurant San Francisco, CA

photos and descriptions for Kim:

My husband turned 45 years old, so we made our way to Benu in San Francisco, California. This is California's fourth 3-Michelin Star Restaurant. Korean Corey Lee, chef/owner, is a creative genius.
We started with "small delicacies," that lasted over an hour and a half. (starting at top and moving left to right)
1. Caviar with winter melon and chicken cream
2./3. Mackerel with lotus leaf and pickled plum / Tomato seasoned with plum sauce
4. Grilled sea snail with citrus and chive petals
5./6. Cured unlaid hen egg with bacon and lily bulb / Acorn black truffle Imberico ham Parmesan pickled red onion
7. Oyster with pork belly and kimchi
8./9. Wild bamboo fungi stuffed with scallop and butter / Fried okra with salted shrimp and shrimp roe
Traditionally, Korean meals were served with brass chopsticks/spoons. Thus the meal began with a beautifully hand-hammered brass charger and brass flatware.
 10. Eel taco
Finally at 9:00pm we started with our meal:
11. Thousand-year-old quail egg, potage, ginger
Chef notes in his new book "Benu" that if this egg comes back untouched, he knows that this restaurant isn't for that diner. He has a point. This restaurant isn't for everyone, it does take a very specific type of diner to thoroughly enjoy this meal.
12. Caramelized anchovy with potato salad
13. Cucumber, sesame, black truffle (served with black truffle bun and black truffle puree with black truffles--I could eat these all day.)
14. Foie gras xiao long bao
14b. Sea cucumber stuffed with shrimp, fermented pepper, cucumber (supplement, for my husband)
15. Steamed hen, abalone, lettuce, black trumpet mushroom
16. Beef rib, tomato condiment, charred scallion
17. Porridge, “shark fin,” dungeness crab, Jinhua ham
18. Shaved milk and honey (photos out of order . . . see below, then back up)
21. Dark chocolate with seeds and marshmallows, The End.
19. Coconut, almond, strawberry
20. Date cake with vanilla icing (supplement for my husband) out of a music box
My husband felt loved because I know that he "suffers" from not having anymore aged wine. I ordered him some wine with age to make up for it: 1989 Dominus and a 1988 Sauterne (though that wasn't served so that we could have a nice GrĂ¼ner Veltliner). The evening was a total success, all the way around. The four diners were ecstatic, the kitchen was creative, and the service people were kind. 

Our fellow diner went to culinary school. He noted, "I didn't learn any of this in culinary school." True, this food comes from the heart (wanting to share), and mind (a melding of left and right brain). It is a definite gift to be able to put this kind of knowledge, taste and energy on a plate.