Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 2 in California

still life in Zuni Cafe

view from 2nd floor of Zuni Cafe

manchego cheese with shaved truffles and truffle honey at Zuni Cafe

beans and grilled fish, pizza from brick oven at Zuni Cafe

foie gras steamed in sake, turnip, perilla, ginger and brioche in BENU

The dinner at Benu was a truly amazing, eye opening experience. Wow, Corey Lee is a chef genius! His dishes look like conceptual art. Incredibly, when tasting his creations, each individual ingredient’s flavor and character spoke clearly while as a whole, the separate tastes worked harmoniously with each other, elevating the whole. I couldn’t help but wonder how he manipulated all the flavors to this extreme level while still maintaining the pure essence of the individual ingredients.

Every dish was impeccably picture perfect. It’s a pity most of the pictures I took at Benu turned out disastrous because my camera couldn’t handle the low light conditions.

The most memorable dish you ask? Hmmm... sea cucumber stuffed with shrimp and pork belly dish. Sea cucumber and pork belly may sound like a weird match to the uninitiated, but it’s actually a pairing found often in Chinese cuisine. Corey Lee's innovative interpretation was of course not your standard fare.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet Corey in the kitchen before dinner. He was genuinely warm and personable. As a fellow Korean, I am so proud of all his accomplishments, especially as he is so young. I can’t wait to go back again to explore his future creations.


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