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Guilty Pleasure

Chef Corey Lee shares his favorite off-menu indulgence from R & G Lounge

The chef: Corey Lee, chef-owner at Michelin two-starred Benu.

What he cooks: The tasting menu’s acorn beggar’s purse contains puréed black truffle, Parmesan cheese, Ibérico ham, and a soft-boiled egg—all wrapped in a bite-size acorn crepe. “Truffle, ham, and acorn all have a relation to the oak tree,” says Lee. “There’s a conceptual connectivity there.”

What he eats: R & G Lounge’s off-menu lo mei gai is a deboned chicken stuffed with Chinese sausage, vegetables, glutinous rice, and all the chicken meat. Then it’s fried whole. “You have to order it 24 hours in advance, and you need at least six people to eat it,” says Lee. “Everyone’s had fried chicken before, but seeing the whole thing fried, you can’t help but smile. The dish perfectly hugs the line between gastronomy and junk food.”

Benu, 22 Hawthorne St. (near Howard St.), 415-685-4860
R & G Lounge, 631 Kearny St. (near Commercial St.), 415-982-7877

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