Chef Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco, CA, California, SOMA, Asian, New American, Contemporary American, Where to eat, Where to drink, Where to shop, Restaurants, Markets, Shops, Shopping, Eating, Drinking, Ingredients, Condiments, Napa, Napa Valley, San Diego, Chinese, Mushrooms, Forager, Mission, Bar Agricole, Insider Recommendations, Chef’s Recs, Where chefs eat


Photo Credit: Justin Lewis


San Francisco, CA

Q & A with Chef Corey Lee

Q. For people who have never been to Benu, can we get a brief description:

A. Benu is a modern restaurant that reflects the city we’re in. San Francisco is a city that’s synonymous with innovation and open mindedness, known for its proximity to agriculture, champion of seasonal cooking, and has a history of ethnic diversity, especially a large Asian community. I think all those things are echoed in our approach to operating Benu.

Q. Can you describe your vision for the perfect meal there?

A. I think our tasting menu is the best way to experience what we do.

Q. You recently were named a goodwill ambassador for Seoul. Can you tell us about this recognition?

A. It’s a recognition they give to people in various fields- entertainment, sports, design, etc. For me, it was special because I was born there and my parents reside there. It was an honor for me to receive this and have a ceremony in the Mayor’s office. But really, it sounds much more officious than it is.


Recommended By

- Chef David Kinch (Manresa in Los Gatos, CA)



Contemporary American

22 Hawthorne Street

San Francisco CA 94105

T: 415.685.4860 (make a reservation)



Tue - Sat: 5:30pm - 9:30pm



Chef’s Rec

Find | Chefs

Q. Chef David Kinch recommended you to Find. Eat. Drink., saying: “after many, many years of people not opening up an ambitious restaurant, Corey Lee has. He has taken a big step towards offering people really fine dining and I think the food is really good.” In the spirit of passing it forward, who should we interview next and why?

A. Anthony Secviar at Addison. I’ve been fortunate to have had so many talented people work with me for many years contributing to and helping us achieve our goals. Anthony is one of the chefs that really stands out.I can’t wait to see what he will be doing in the next year or so as he settles in at his new restaurant. I think he will help make Addison a true dining destination.

[See details.]


Q & A

F.E.D. Travel Guides
Find a travel guide »../../../../../guide/download_guides.html../../../../../guide/download_guides.htmlshapeimage_27_link_0


Chef’s Recs | Food

Mushrooms from Wine Forest Wild Foods | Red Boat Fish Sauce 40°N

Photograph courtesy of Wine Forest Wild Foods | Red Boat Fish Sauce

Find | Food Purveyors

Wine Forest Wild Foods

There are so many in this area that have grown their work into bigger businesses but still operate on a small scale. I love that after all these years, I can still call them and get them on the phone and talk directly with them. They are so committed to what they do, it’s not just a profession, it’s a lifestyle.

[See details.]


Find | Condiments & Ingredients

Red Boat fish Sauce

It’s the best fish sauce available commercially in the US. I use it for our Kimchi.

[See details.]

Chef’s Recs | San Francisco

Crabs at New May Wah

Photograph courtesy of Becky Berry [flickr]

Find | Food Markets

New May Wah

It’s a good place for people to browse if you’ve never been to a Chinese market before. The selection is not huge, but for those who are not familiar with Asian groceries, they will find it very interesting.

[See details.]


Crab at R & G Executive Lounge | Fried Chicken Wings at San Tung

Photographs courtesy of R & G Executive Lounge | VirtualEm [flickr]

Eat | Restaurants

Where I Would Take A Visiting Chef | Coi

For the tasting menu.

Off The Beaten Track | San Tung

For black bean noodles and fried chicken.

Quintessential San Francisco | R & G Executive Lounge

For salt and pepper crab.

[See details.]


The Space & Cocktails at Bar Agricole | Tacos at Mosto

Photograph courtesy of Bar Agricole | Tacolicious

Drink | Bars

Design & Cocktails | Bar Agricole

They have great sipping cocktails and I like the design and feel of the space.

Tequila & Mexican | Mosto

Great tequila list with tasty Mexican snacks. I only like bars that also offer snacks or small bites. In Asia, you never just drink. You always have something the eat while you drink.

[See details.]


- Beef Espagnole


Details of Corey Lee’s recommendations for where to eat, drink and shop in San Francisco.

City Guides

- San Francisco: Download

- San Francisco Bay Area: Download

- California Wine Country: Download