It’s 6 p.m. on Friday evening and near the corner of Howard and Hawthorne, you come across a curious sight. There is light pouring out of Benu’s oversized kitchen window. It softly illuminates the courtyard where people have gathered to watch the chefs skillfully plate Korean and Cantonese dishes. Intrigued by this display, you step closer to the window to get a better look. Just as you catch a glimpse of people seated in the dining room, a door to your left opens and peals of laughter escape from within. It’s then that you grasp that Benu is open for dinner service.

Suddenly, you feel a bubble of hope expand within your chest. You can just sense that this is the beginning of a new era. It’s about more than the restaurant having three Michelin stars. And it’s about more than it being a dining destination for connoisseurs from across the globe. Benu has always been at the helm of the Bay Area’s dining scene, and with Chef Corey Lee reopening his doors, you are certain that other fine dining establishments will soon follow his lead.  

A quick search on your phone tells you that Chef Lee’s Parisian bistro, Monsieur Benjamin, has also reopened for indoor dining. And while his café, In Situ, is still temporary closed, his newest dining concept, San Ho Won, is expected to have a grand opening later this year.

Feeling joyful and lighter than air, you linger in front of the window to soak in this revelation. Perhaps you will make a reservation this month to celebrate the return of fine dining. The revival of haute cuisine in the neighborhood. You can’t wait to indulge in the best culinary delights Yerba Buena Gardens has to offer.