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Tag: tasting menu

Tasting Menu at Benu

Early this year I did the tasting menu at Benu in San Francisco. It seems that I’m interested in doing expensive dining less and less these days. The bar is set so high for the experience when a high price is required. However, there are a few places that I know won’t fail to amaze, that I would be happy to revisit anytime my wallet can handle it.

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On a recent trip to the Bay Area I received the opportunity to try the newest restaurant from Chef Mourad Lahlou, Mourad. Several years have passed since I was impressed by not only the stellar cocktail program of Aziza (the restaurant named for the Chef’s Mother, widely considered the best Moroccan in the America), but the fantastic cuisine. I remember being particularly impressed by the rendition of Lamb bisteeya (or b’stilla). Although the version at Aziza was sans Quail, for me it was a transformative taste.

Mourad (13 of 28)
Chef Mourad sent an additional course with our tasting menu, a micro version of lamb b’stilla

Mourad features an extremely talented team, with the wine programed helmed by Master Sommelier Alan Murray, and the pastry program run by James Beard Nominee Melissa Chou. While we tasted quite a few delicious beverages this evening, the wine that not only worked well with nearly everything but captured my imagination was a Mosel Riesling from Egon Müller IV. Egon is bald, which makes him much cooler by default, and is a member of the prestigious PFV, or Primum Familiae Vini – an illuminati like group of twelve winemaking families.

Mourad (10 of 28)

As I learned from the recent Von Bodem tasting, while the label says Mosel, the Scharzhofberg vineyard is more specifically located in the Saar District, which says a great deal specifically (the Saar sits on Blue Devon slate, also called Hunsrück Slate). At a 10.5% in alcohol, this bottle had arrow like acidity, presence on the palate, mild petrol on the nose, and great under ripe fruit flavors.

Mourad (17 of 28)

As my dining companion is old friends with the chef; he agreed that we should try the tasting menu which seemed to strike a perfect balance between just enough and too much food. I am told that Mourad goes so far as to even weigh all the ingredients of his tasting menus to achieve the perfect level of satiation.

Mourad (2 of 28)

The cocktail program was created by the duo of Christ Aivaliotis and Troy Bayless, known as Wizard Oil Co (probably the coolest name for a cocktail company out there). 

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