Awards Watch: Readers' Choice, Best New Restaurant

Beard Awards: Readers' Choice To get an early start on the upcoming festivities, we're bringing back our Readers' Choice Awards, in which our audience gets to cast votes for their favorite JBF nominees. It's simple: we set up a snazzy poll and you make your pick. Our first category is Best New Restaurant. This year's BNR noms are especially impressive, and likely backed by passionate legions of fans on their home turf, so we're expecting this contest to be pretty intense. So size up the contenders below and vote! We'll close this poll at noon tomorrow, then launch another round in the afternoon. [poll id="12"] Note: these results have absolutely no bearing on who will win a bona fide Beard Award. (You can read about the Awards nomination and voting procedure

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Interview with Benu's Corey Lee

Corey Lee

When Corey Lee opened Benu in San Francisco last summer, critics wondered if the French Laundry alum’s first independent fine-dining foray would survive in a time when diners were embracing more casual concepts. But the popular and breathlessly praised venture has demonstrated that America’s appetite for haute cuisine is as strong as ever. To mark Benu’s nomination for a JBF Best New Restaurant Award, we interviewed chef Lee last week. Check it out below.

JBF: What’s the story behind the name Benu?

CL: The benu is the phoenix bird, which stands for renewal and longevity. It’s what we’ve done with our careers through this opening, and what we hope to accomplish with the restaurant.

JBF: What lessons from the French Laundry did you take with you to the new restaurant?

CL: Many

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