22 Hawthorne St.
San Francisco, CA
Chef/Owner: Corey Lee
Chef de Cuisine: Brandon Rodgers
Pastry Chef: Courtney Schmidig
Sommelier: Yoon Ha
GM: Peter de Pentheny O'Kelly
Ranked 52 in 2013; Ranked 76 in 2012.
This restaurant from former French Laundry executive chef Corey Lee was one of the most highly awaited openings of 2010. Of Korean heritage, Benu’s cuisine relies on mixing Asian ingredients with classical French technique resulting in a menu featuring dishes like Hokkaido sea cucumber stuffed with shrimp, pork belly, cucumber eggplant and fermented pepper and dry-aged “Pre Sale” lamb with ginko nut, pumpkin, pear, date, ginger. It all happens in a cool, sleek dining room that is “appropriately Zen” given the style of food Lee serves. As to be expected, you will find the same “technically perfect cooking” and “precise execution” that is a hallmark of the chefs who trained under Thomas Keller.” No wonder one reviewer described it as “The Asian French Laundry.”