benu……Playground for the Palate

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Before heading to Napa, there was one restaurant on the must do list – – benu.  Deciding on the tasting menu was an adventure unto itself, eighteen courses.  This was hedonism at its best and I was totally willing and able.  When you step into this oasis of flavors and combinations meant to stimulate your palate, as well as, your mind you best come prepared.  This ain’t for those who know it all.  It’s for those willing to experience it all.  Starting with the thousand year old quail egg and ending with chocolates, the evening was simply amazing.

 

Thousand-year-old quail egg, cèpes, ginger
Thousand-year-old quail egg, cèpes, ginger

 

oyster, pork belly, kimchi
oyster, pork belly, kimchi

 

wild sockeye, maple-sake cure, fennel ash
wild sockeye, maple-sake cure, fennel ash

 

Eggplant with fennel ash
Eggplant with fennel ash

 

cherry blossom, yogurt, cucumber, pistachio
cherry blossom, yogurt, cucumber, pistachio

 

beef tartare, caviar, horseradish, chive
beef tartare, caviar, horseradish, chive

 

homemade corn tofu, ice plant, tomato juice
homemade corn tofu, ice plant, tomato juice

 

eel, feuille de brick, crème fraîche, lime (Small)
eel, feuille de brick, crème fraîche, lime

 

jasmine chicken with dates (Small)
jasmine chicken with dates

 

foie gras xiao long bao
foie gras xiao long bao

 

monkfish liver torchon turnip plum brioche
monkfish liver torchon turnip plum brioche

 

abalone potato caper lettuce
abalone potato caper lettuce

 

fresh noodles shrimp roe tarragon chicken jus
fresh noodles shrimp roe tarragon chicken jus

 

sharks fin soup dungeness crab Jinhua ham black truffle custard
sharks fin soup dungeness crab Jinhua ham black truffle custard

 

duck glutinous rice stuffing fermented pepper
duck glutinous rice stuffing fermented pepper

 

pork rib sunchoke pine nut cherry black bean
pork rib sunchoke pine nut cherry black bean

 

passion fruit, white chocolate, chili
passion fruit, white chocolate, chili

 

peach, matcha, elder flower
peach, matcha, elder flower

 

chocolates
chocolates

The Wine

1. Schloss Gobelsberg, Steinsetz, Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria 2008

2. Wakatake, Onikoroshi “Demon Slayer”, Junmai Daiginjo, Shizuoka, Japan

3. Pfeffingen, Scheurebe, trocken, Pfalz, Germany 2009

4. Maestro Sierra, Oloroso sherry, 15-yr., Jerez, Spain

5. Rodenbach, Flemish red brown ale, Belgium 2007

6. Monchhoff, Urzig Wurzgarten, Riesling kabinett, Mosel, Germany 2010

7. Blandy’s Verdelho, Madeira, Portugal 1968

8. Lioco, Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley 2009

9. Clos St. Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape, rouge, Rhone, France 2008

10. Domaine du Fresche, Anjou coteaux de la Loire, France 2009

 

Benu….the return is very necessary.

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