Benu is an oasis in the heart of the city. The mandatory stroll through the serene courtyard not only sets the mood, but also offers insight into the meal to come. Peruse the earthenware pots with fermenting ingredients you'll later find on your plate and glimpse the kitchen hard at work. The interior is awash in earthy colors and sleek banquettes, and the slate-gray dining room is serene, with clean lines drawing the eye across the meticulous design. Given the restaurant’s high caliber, the staff is impressively warm and relaxed. A series of highly technical small bites kicks off the meal. These delicacies alone rival some of the country's most ambitious tasting menus, but wait, there's more. Faux shark's fin and soup dumplings remain a constant, while Chef Corey Lee continues to reimagine and redefine his nightly tasting menu. Dishes like Beluga caviar and sweet sea urchin or Cantonese-style pork belly served alongside blood sausage crepinette reflect a unique marriage of contemporary Asian influences. Patience seems to define this kitchen in its relentless pursuit of excellence, whether perfecting technique or waiting for just the right moment to serve an ingredient at its peak.