Monsieur Benjamin

The dispute of whether the French or the Belgians invented the french fry remains unsettled. What I think they can both unanimously agree on, however, is that french fries are delicious.

Elevated to a celebrity status, french fries can be found on menus throughout the world, from fast food to fine dining restaurants. Monsieur Benjamin, a French restaurant located in Hayes Valley, also offers its own variation of upscale french fries.

Edited group shot (4 of 14).jpg

Monsieur Benjamin is the latest project of Corey Lee, the former chef de cuisine at the French Laundry and also the Michelin-starred chef of Benu. Here he cooks food found in a traditional French brasserie, but in a setting that seamlessly fits to the hip and international Hayes Valley neighborhood. On the unmistakably French menu, you can find fried frog legs (which are delicious!), escargot, veal, and other French specialties. But you can also just come for the burger and fries. I did just that while working on a work assignment for Gourmet Walks, where I photographed (and tasted) the top 10 burgers in San Francisco.

Holding the burger to my mouth, the cheese and grilled onions oozed out of the sides in all directions–I realized that this was no “All-American” burger. Was I supposed to use a fork and knife? Trying not to get grease all over myself and my camera, I did just that. Don’t be fooled by the petit size of the burger patty, the generous mound of fries fortifying the burger will make sure you are full and content before your meal’s end.

Edited group shot (11 of 14).jpg
Edited group shot (12 of 14).jpg
Edited group shot (14 of 14).jpg