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Annual SF/Berkeley trip to eat - 2 Questions

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Fellow Chow-hounders, Thanks in advance for your responses.

1. Have reso's at Benu for the Friday after Thanksgiving and worried that the Chef will be out, pantry will be spare and will have a less than stellar experience. Anxiety mostly driven by the ease of landing a reso. :-) Thoughts?

2. Used to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the spicy Dungeness at Mama-lan's in Berkeley which has since closed. Any alternatives to recommend for spicy Vietnamese style crab?

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  1. It's never hard to get a reservation at Benu.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      What Robert said. Benu is not French Laundry and, having dined there a number of times (mostly unimpressed, actually), I seriously doubt the pantry will be bare.

      Even though I don't care for it, they are a class act and won't serve less than there very best.

      1. re: CarrieWas218

        I was very impressed at my only visit to Benu last summer, and I told my sister that they were going to get 2 Michelin stars right off the bat. My sister was visiting me from Hong Kong then; she thought there were too many Asian influences in the dishes and they would only get 1 star. I told her these many Asian influences are really uncommon in high-end restaurants (except perhaps Japanese influences) here in the States. Guess who was right at the end? ;-)

        1. re: vincentlo

          yes, but that may say more about Michelin's food critics than about Benu!