Blessed with a tsunami of pre-opening buzz, Benu — the new restaurant from Thomas Keller protégé Corey Lee that opens on August 10 — is already booked up completely for this month, and most prime-time reservations are already gone through late September. Grub Street did a few searches on OpenTable that yielded an 8:00 p.m. table for two on September 22, and a bunch of 5:30 and 9:30 slots in early September. But yes folks, this is what we talk about when we talk about buzz.
It’s no wonder that tables are disappearing given that there are only 46 seats in the house — making for an almost one-to-one ratio of staff to diners. Chef Lee says the idea is to provide an experience like The French Laundry for a bit less money, and in a more modern setting.
We got a quick peek at the opening menu yesterday, which looks pretty exciting and includes things like snapping turtle velouté with langoustines; egg tagliatelle with chicken liver, tomato, and chive blossoms; dry-aged “pré salé” lamb rack with garlic sausage, lemon peel, and coastal succulents; and the aforementioned spin on “shark’s fin” soup.
And we should note that Mr. Keller himself made an appearance at yesterday’s pre-opening party to congratulate the young chef on spreading his wings.
Benu - 22 Hawthorne Lane - 415.685.4860 - Opening for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday, starting August 10
Earlier: Corey Lee Doesn’t Want to Over-Think or Under-Think His Food [Grub Street]
Corey Lee Explains the Name of His Upcoming Restaurant Benu [Grub Street]