Question: What do you get when you cross a Michelin-starred chef with a casual bistro concept?
The modern, California-fied French bistro in Hayes Valley has garnered rave reviews since opening this summer. Here you’ll find inventive twists on traditional Parisian fare (breaded frog legs, anyone?) dished out until the wee hours.
First, there’s the late-night angle: Open until 1 a.m., Monsieur Benjamin serves up umami-rich Camembert beignets sprinkled with dried mushroom powder ($7 for six) for the post-symphony set.
Then there’s the Parisian angle: Think escargot ($17) with garlic butter, minced mushrooms and parsley bread crumbs, and beef tartare ($17) topped with oozing egg yolk, cornichon and white flecks of dried Wagyu fat. And you can’t go wrong with the steak frites ($36), a bavette served rare with herb jus and a pile of thin-cut fries.
But the coup de grace is the lobster ragout ($32), a carryover from the menu at Benu. Freshly made pasta is topped with a heaping mound of lobster simmered in a bacon sauce with a dash of Korean pepper.
A bonne nuit indeed.
Monsieur Benjamin, 451 Gough St.; 415-403-2233 or monsieurbenjamin.com