Baume, Palo Alto, CA
12 dishes, 4 small bites, 2 glasses of champagne and 3 hours later, I left the restaurant happy but a little puzzled. Baume is worthy of its 2 Michelin stars status. However, there are still some elements missing. My dining experience was good but not exceptional. For a restaurant in this class I found the service to be just average. Descriptions of the dishes sounded robotic and simply boring. Most of the time all I heard was just a list of ingredients used. Some enthusiasm, or explanation of the technique would certainly have made things more interesting. I definitely enjoyed the showiness and dramatic presentation. (Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you) The “white tablet” made a great first impression. The kabocha soup with “pumpkin seeds” ice cream and the mandarin tree were both lovely surprises. I think they could go even further and put on more dazzling shows. There are quite a few memorable dishes. I could understand why the 62.5C egg is the chef’s signature dish. The texture was unreal and I think it might just be the best egg I have had. Both salad courses were wonderful. There were so much that went on in just one bite. Noirmoutier Turbot fish course was the highlight of my meal. The texture was uniform, juicy and bouncy. The sous-vide petite filet was tender and passed the ‘cutting with your fork’ test with ease. Desserts were beyond spectacular. There are a few dishes that made me wonder. Caviar Parfait is one. Creme fraiche, carrot puree and apple have a suppressing rather than enhancing effect on the caviar. Maine Lobster with the split pea puree, anise and hibiscus gelee seemed too sweet and lacked balance. Baume would be an interesting experience if it is your first molecular gastronomy encounter. Whether it is worthy of a return visit for a special occasion? I am still unsure.