Walking into the minimalist interior of three-star Michelin restaurant Benu, one gets butterflies anticipating the performance that is about to unfold. The restaurant, situated near Yerba Buena Park, received the James Beard award this year for Best Wine Program — recognition long overdue in the minds of those who have had the pleasure of experiencing the restaurants hallowed wine list or Wine Director Yoon Ha’s congenial pairing menu in the last decade since the restaurant opened.
After a meal at Benu I started seeking saké for my caviar (rather than Champagne) and craving sour fruit beers with my soup dumplings. I had gone with my future husband without any particular occasion to celebrate (we were celebrating our reservation).
Benu Wine List
In spite of having one of the best wine lists in the country, Ha (a Master Sommelier) remained humble, his service subtle and exacting. He doesn’t always go straight for drama or age — pairings could be the aforementioned beer or a really tasty current release Pinot Noir from a favorite local producer like Lioco. Granted, when you say the word, he will gladly find you that birth year wine in your preferred style, be it Napa Cabernet or German Riesling.
$80 per bottle