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Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.10mi
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  3. Distance: 0.16mi
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  1. Distance: 0.10mi
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About Benu

Benu offers a set tasting menu. In order to provide you with the best dining experience, we require advance notice for guests with dietary restrictions. For guests avoiding gluten, we are unable to completely remove soy sauce. It is used in many of our base preparations.

Reduction in party size is subject to availability. If there is no smaller table available, the reservation will be forfeited and the new party size will be placed on the wait list for the evening.

Due to the length of the meal and quiet ambiance of the dining room, we do not allow young children unless they are able to partake in the full tasting menu. Many guests are celebrating a special occasion and look forward to a relaxing, uninterrupted evening. Thank you for understanding.

We request a credit card to hold this reservation. In the event of a no-show or cancellation with less than 48 hrs notice the credit card will be charged $295.00/person.

22 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Contemporary American

Hours of Operation:
Reservations available Tuesday - Thursday, 5:30 - 8:30pm and Friday - Saturday, 5:30 - 9:30 pm.

Cross Street:
Howard

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$50 and over

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(415) 685-4860

Website:
http://www.benusf.com/

Catering:
Please contact us for further information.

Parking Details:
Valet parking is available at the restaurant for $20.

Executive Chef:
Corey Lee

Private Party Facilities:
Benu offers a customized private dining experience for parties of all sizes. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance for anytime. Please contact us for more details.

Private Party Contact:
Sinead Quach: (415) 685-4860 ext. 117

Additional:
Banquet, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Benu Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.8

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.8

service

4.8

ambience

4.6

value

4.3

Noise

Quiet

87% would recommend it to a friend

Good for Anniversaries (12)
Special Occasion (11)
Tasting Menu (11)
See All
Fit for Foodies (11)
Romantic (9)
Worth the Drive (8)
Notable Wine List (7)
Creative Cuisine (6)
Good for Birthdays (5)
Good for a Date (5)
Cozy (4)
Local Ingredients (4)
Quiet Conversation (4)
Authentic (3)
Business Meals (2)
Fun (2)
Healthy (2)
Comfort Food (1)
Neighborhood Gem (1)
People Watching (1)
Seasonal (1)
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1357 reviews
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 25, 2012

We had a lovely meal. We skipped the prix fix menu (at $180, it seemed a bit high) and instead ordered from the a la carte menu. Our fois gras and abalone appetizers were wonderful, we shared the lobster with cognac glaze (also great, and ordered mainly because of the truffle bun, which was worth it), and our lamb and the sea cucumber (ordered because it was so different) main dishes were very good. The lamb was done perfectly and paired well with the other dabs of flavors on the plate. The sea cucumber was indeed different and interesting. We had glasses of wine that paired well with our dishes. Because we ordered dessert, we could have skipped one of the dishes and had a better amount of food, but we were curious.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food4
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 21, 2012

Service and staff seemed very up tight, to the point where it actually ruined the dining experience.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food3
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 (Central Coast)·Dined on January 21, 2012

Benu offers an amazing culinary experience.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 20, 2012

chef Cory Lee makes a good effort in creating innovative dishes based on Chinese and Korean everyday dishes like thousand year old egg, shanghai dumpling, eel, sea cucumber, salt and peper squid etc. Problem with me is that i have eaten all these everyday dishes and it is difficult for me not to compare Cory's dishes to the real dishes. I think some are very good renditions in highlighting the essence of the dish, while some i felt was not quite there. For example, the thousand year old quail egg was a bit over fermented. The chicken dish with the moss threads were rather dull, it needed some wok heat. the jinwah ham in the shark fin soup was overpowered by the truffle custard. I also think that the decor needs to be have a richer feel.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 12, 2012

The ante-room dining room that we were seated in even though we were one of the earliest reservations, was like getting seated at the kids table. The mushroom soup was underseasoned. The lobster sauce was too sweet. The pork rib was delicious but the kale was cooked beyond all recognition. The cheese was tasty, but I think it is because they don't do their own cheese. The sommelier was knowledgeable. I'm running back to Coi and Gary Danko.

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food2
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2011

Fairly hard-core exotic Asian, almost exclusively seafood. And very expensive. New Year's Eve twelve course tasting menu was, shall we say, challenging. All very well prepared and well served but not a meal with universal appeal. Not being a big fan of either seafood or Japanese cooking, I doubt I'll be returning.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List
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food3
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2011

Chef Corey has out done himself on this New Year's Eve menu. Looking forward to next year with great anticipation.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Special Occasion, Hot Spot
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food5
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 30, 2011

Finally, a restaurant actually in the city of San Francisco that can compare to the great three michelin stars of the world. I never was able to experience the French Laundry while Chef Lee was CDC, but Benu is better than the meal I had at TFL under Tim Hollingsworth last fall. The food is so much more imaginative but subtle in its flavors and delicious in combinations than anything at Gary Danko, La Folie, Masa's, the old Ritz Carlton, and even Coi.

David Chang was right—Corey Lee and Benu have a bright future ahead of them.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 30, 2011

We loved this restaurant. Imaginative food with fantastic flavors. One of the best finds of 2011.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Hot Spot
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food5
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 30, 2011

Excellent presentatation and experience

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
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service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 27, 2011

Great food, creative and different. Service was fantastic, waiter was knowledgable, polite, and helpful with course selections. Sommelier was also very knowledgable.
Seemed like a team effort between the entire staff, everyone knew what they were doing and enjoyed it. And though its fine dining and expensive, the young staff made it seem more comfortable for us(both 26) than a place with veteran waitstaff nearing retirement.
All this made for the best dining experience I've had in SF, particularly for a quiet and romantic dinner. Only downside was that one loud lady at another table making herself heard amongst an otherwise quiet ambiance (can't hold that against the restaurant). If I could afford it, I'd be a regular here!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food4
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 27, 2011

This restaurant is without question one of the top two or three dining establishments in San Francisco if not in Northern California. Corey Lee had brought his extensive background with him and produces a fascinating menu for diners that creates opportunities for a multitude of flavor experiences. Presentations are poetic and the food is over the top! The service excels as well and all our dining requests were handled efficiently if not anticipated. Timing of courses is in keeping with menu preferences.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion
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food5
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 22, 2011

Truly, truly exquisite food, from red deer to custom made chocolates; deserves its reputation. Excellent, understated service; not in-your-face like some other "foodie" places. Minimalist atmosphere which I found slightly flat, but certainly doesn't distract from the food. The only negative was a bit of bait and switch re price and portions. The a la carte menu looks perfectly reasonable (see their site), it is only when you have actually sat down that they warn that "many people take two or three 'main courses'", because they are so very small. At $30-$42 a pop, this substantially changes the math of the outing. They should label all as "small plates". Also note that soon, only the 3 hour, $180 tasting menu will be available on many nights

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 21, 2011

One word sums up Benu- Awesome! Look forward to our next visit.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Hot Spot
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food5
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 21, 2011

Too expensive for the food. Service is great but a bit too much also, too many interruptions to have a flowing conversation.

Tags: Romantic, Special Occasion
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food3
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vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on December 21, 2011

Benu's is one of those exceedingly trendy restaurants that serious foodies inhabit. It is one of two San Francisco Michelin 2 star restaurant and priced as such (expensive). The food was beautifully prepared and presented but have a snack before you go - the portions are small - or follow the waiter's advice and order more than you normally would. Great wines, but short pours. Bottom line: my wife and I had a very pleasant evening and were happy we went but somehow the whole experience was just a little too over the top to make us want to return in a hurry.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 20, 2011

Inventive menu, excellent flavorings and presentation. The portions seemed small, but by the end of the meal we were well sated. Attentive but subdued service. Elegant and a much-appreciated quietness. Very strong recommendation.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Romantic
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food5
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 17, 2011

Unique and creative food. Expensive so had a high bar to critique. The lobster was great. Other dishes were good not amazing. The duck was a disappointment. Liked the atmosphere which was Japanese influenced and zen-like - interior design was like a scene out of a Kill Bill movie. The beer, sake and wine list was very good. For these prices, I would expect amazing and didn't get it...Would not return...Prefer Gary Danko or Fleur de Lys or La Folie.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food3
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 16, 2011

Pros: excellent food, relatively quiet, properly lighted atmosphere, attentive service, broad wine-list.

Cons: no bar (ok, means less noise) but also no hard liquor which is tough when you want your "while we wait for our friends highball" in the small front lounge, servings a tad small for the money (I think three small round slices of red deer rather than two would have been more appropriate for $36)

We were surprised by the setting austerity at first but it grows on you. I really liked my mysterious off-menu "salad," the red deer was delicious, and the chocolate ganache peanut pudding miso ice cream dessert was wonderful.

We will go back.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food4
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 15, 2011

Benu and its Chef Corey Lee are well lauded by popular food guides like Michelin (2 stars) as well as local food columnists like Michael Bauer (3 1/2 stars). That alone--plus the $180 starting point for the tasting menu--does create some high expectations. We had the prix fixe tasting menu with the risotto and white truffles (which was charged supplementally at $50!), so our starting point for 3 guests was $690 before wine or other beverage. The food was certainly clever and some quite tasty, but overall did not reach where it needed to go for these prices. Additionally, if the establishment is serving a "tasting menu" it MUST have servers who are well-informed as to the ingredients AND explain such to the guests! This was mishandled on

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on December 14, 2011

Absolutely worthy of its two Michelin stars. Unique, innovative courses. Te wine/beverage pairings (they include sake and beer with some courses) are excellent, well-thought out, and nicely complementary of the dishes. The service was always right on time without making us feel rushed or hovered over. We've been to many Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, and this is definitely in the top tier. Unlike others who have complained that the portions are somewhat small, the two of us had a hard time making it through the tasting menu - but we "forced" ourselves to prevail because the dishes will all so fantastic.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Hot Spot
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 (Portland)·Dined on December 13, 2011

One of my three favorite restaurants in the U.S.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Special Occasion, Hot Spot
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food5
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vip
 (South Dakota)·Dined on December 10, 2011

The food was tasteless and the consistency of the food was very soft. This was the first experience of mine at a high end resturant that was miserable. Nice people but the food was poor.

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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 10, 2011

My husband and I went for the a la carte menu as we were going to a show and didn't have time for the tasting menu (you need to allow 2 1/2 hours for that). Staff made sure the timing worked for our schedule. We were blown away by the food. It felt like art on a plate. There were lots of textures and flavors that you'd think would be confusing, but it worked! Everything was delicious and tantalized the tastebuds. The extensive wine list was somewhat overwhelming, but the Sommelier recommended a great bottle of bubbles and later glasses of red to accompany our main courses. We had a wonderful experience and would definitely go back for a special occasion for the tasting menu.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food5
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 10, 2011

Tasting menu is something everyone should do before they die. It's incredibly creative and the wine pairings are inventive and surprisingly well matched - ales, sake, and 45-year old wines added to the fun flavors of the evening. I highly recommend this restaurant.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 8, 2011

loved the creativity of the dishes, and the little touches like the music box birthday dessert, and the awesome little custom wooden dishes/utensils/plates etc. as a critique, my girlfriend and i both agreed the duck dish was the weakest -- too salty and tasted like hot dog. overall service was amazing. decor left us wanting.. felt like a hotel lobby restaurant.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food4
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 7, 2011

Exceedingly exciting tasting menu; luxurious without being too heavy or over bearing. Every single dish evokes a sense of journey and adventure.
Service is personable without being intrusive.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 7, 2011

The food is the high point of Benu - marvelous and exceptional flavors, combinations, preparation, and presentation. However, the evening was marred by our server's relentless efforts to get us out the door, which should never happen at a restaurant of this quality and price range. From the time we sat down until we exited, 'rush' was the operative keyword for the server. And the prices of all menu items should be enlarged so as to be legible in the dim light - the $300 bill (excluding tip) for two, without any serious wine, caused slack jaw.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 6, 2011

The overall ratings are pretty good. The service and ambiance are outstanding. The presentation of the food are really good. However, you might be slightly disappointed if you are Asian or keen on Chinese cuisine. The menu is highly influenced by Chinese cuisine adding a twist of western ingredients. My friends and I all agreed that it was slightly overpriced given that it is much cheaper if you just go to an ordinary Chinese restaurant. If you go with the tasting menu with a bottle of wine, you will be looking at around $300 per head.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food3
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 6, 2011

Benu is terrific but just too darn expensive.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food4
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 6, 2011

Corey Lee's imaginative tasting menu is a once in a lifetime experience. The artistry which which the food was plated is worthy of an exhibit in SFMOMA. The staff are attentive and personable. Personally, however, I think that 17 courses is too many - each course is minuscule so it was very difficult to maintain any level of intimate conversation as the wait staff were constantly at our table. I fully comprehend and am a huge supporter of the concept of small tasters but feel that this is taking it too far. At a costly sum of $417 for two of us (including 2 glasses of sparkling wine), I thought it rather short-sighted when they charged us for the coffee. Benu is all about the chef and the food but not really about the customer!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Hot Spot
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food4
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 2, 2011

The display kitchen is apparently more important to the owners than the dining room. Service was attentive and tried to please, but could not make up for the insultingly tiny amount of food served as a vegetarian entree, and the fact that it was just not that special. My girlfriend did not finish her lobster entree either. Based on our experience, we don't understand the popularity/acclaim.

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food2
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 1, 2011

Presentation of food was amazing. Good balance of texture and flavors.
Portions are small. Left hungry and thought it was pricey for what you get.

Tags: Notable Wine List
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 29, 2011

This was well worth spending for-everything was superb-the 18 courses or so were just tres elegant! The personnable service was very appreciated. The flavors were outstanding-truly unique. This was the best dining experience in San Francisco yet.Very nice relaxed atmosphere.The wine steward was very knowledgeable and cordial.Outstanding!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Hot Spot
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food5
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 26, 2011

You go to a place like Benu for two reasons. (1) Because it's impossible to get into the French Laundry (and it soon will be for Benu) and (2) for an unbelievable culinary experience, which is what we got. Fantastic food, great location, an unbelievable night.

Highly recommended to put on, and cross off, your bucket list.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Hot Spot
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food5
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 25, 2011

It’s still not quite ready for 3 stars. To be sure, the food is superb, the wine list has excellent breadth and depth, the atmosphere sublime, and the service is very good until a mistake occurs. At that point things can become awkward. The staff still has a bit to learn on how to handle rare service missteps in a seamless manner. So, you may need to be far more direct in correcting a problem than expected in a restaurant of this caliber.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 25, 2011

Without a doubt one of the best meals we've ever had. Truly spectacular dining experience!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food5
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vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 22, 2011

This was a most exciting dinner experience for us in recent times. The food is imaginative, creative and flavorful. Service is impeccable. Should be Number 1 on anyone's restaurant list in San Francisco... One must have the Chef's Tasting Menu to be able to experience the talent that is overflowing from the kitchen.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
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service5

vip
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on November 22, 2011

one of the best meals ever and would highly recommend this restaurant. The presentation of the food to the spirits pairings was phenomenal

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food5
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 22, 2011

Based on the reviews, we expected much more. The porridge and the pasta dish were excellent. The duck, the pork rib and the abalone were disappointments. The service and the wines were also excellent.

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