When we spoke with Benu owner Corey Lee in June, he mentioned he'd like to be open by August 22; so his official opening today puts Benu in the nearly nonexistent group of restaurants that have opened ahead of schedule. As you may know, Lee worked at The French Laundry for the past nine years, and he's applied painstakingly earnest attention to every aspect of Benu's concept: from porcelain tableware designed by the supplier to Korean royalty, to the impeccably minimalist space intended not to distract from the art on the walls and the plate, to the manicured courtyard and trellised entrance, designed to set a relaxed mood. Serving "inspired progressive American cuisine," Lee wants Benu to be the sort of place you can pop into before a show for items from the a la carte menu; but there's also a tasting menu with between eight and 14 dishes that can take up to three hours to complete.
For an all-encompassing walk-through of the interior, we'll point you to GrubStreet. Take note the restaurant is almost fully committed through September, but Scoop reports Lee has left a few reservations aside for opening night to preserve the air of accessibility. And in case you're wondering, yes, this man has thought of everything.
· Corey Lee Chats About Benu: Menu, Design and More [~ ESF ~]
· Closer To Fine: Corey Lee's Benu [7x7]
· Tasting Menus From A French Laundry Alum [Daily Candy]
· Benu, Fine Dining on Hawthorne Lane [UrbanDaddy]
· Benu School: Corey Lee on goals, details and what he's most excited about [ISSF]
· Exclusive: Step Inside Benu, Opening August 10 [GrubStreet]
· Benu Already Pretty Well Booked Into September [GrubStreet]