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Two Michelin stars, to go: Palo Alto's high-end Baume pivots to takeout

Uploaded: Jul 20, 2020
Baumé, the two-Michelin-star French restaurant on California Avenue in Palo Alto, celebrated its tenth anniversary this year. Chef-owner Bruno Chemel likely didn't anticipate that 2020 would also be the year his intimate, high-end restaurant would have to offer takeout.

Baumé, which has been closed since shelter in place began in March, will reopen on Tuesday, July 28, for to-go only. The menu is significantly simplified and less expensive: $98 for a four-course menu instead of upwards of $400 for eight courses with wine pairings.

Baumé chef-owner Bruno Chemel, pictured in 2015 using a blowtorch to add finishing touches to a strawberry lime tartare sorbet. Photo by Veronica Weber.

The menu, which will change monthly, is starting with corn soup with vadouvan marshmallows, ribeye steak with grilled zucchini and potato gratin, warm goat cheese with croutons and honey and a strawberry-apricot chiboust sponge cake with cassis gel for dessert.

"I took my time developing this option to ensure that it would reflect the high standards that have come to define Baumé," Chemel said in an announcement, which in a sign of the times included a photo of the French chef, sitting in the darkened dining room wearing a mask.

Chemel opened the windowless, two-room Baumé at 201 California Ave. in 2010 after a very public dust-up at Chez TJ, when the Mountain View restaurant lost a Michelin star under his leadership in the kitchen. He started his own venture to prove his critics wrong and quickly earned one, then two stars at Baumé, a rating he's maintained every year since 2011.

Chemel now runs the restaurant with only one other employee, his wife Christie. (He claims Baumé is the only restaurant in the world that has two Michelin stars and a two person staff.)

Christie Chemel sets the dining room for dinner service in 2015. Photo by Veronica Weber.

The Baumé takeout menu is available Tuesday through Saturday from 4-8p.m. Customers can place preorders on Tock and pick up the meals ready to eat with no cooking required. A select list of wine bottles will also be available for an additional cost.
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 +   8 people like this
Posted by The Reluctant Gourmet, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jul 20, 2020 at 1:28 pm

$98.00+ tax is still a lot of dough to spend for dining out of a take-out cardboard box...regardless of
the accolades. Add the 2X over retail for the wine & you are looking at well over $200.00 per person.

The concept is probably OK for some Palo Altans where money is no issue and 'name dropping'
of the utmost importance since convenient and reduced price take-out is not currently available from The French Laundry or CIA.

Life in Palo Alto = the sweet life.

 +   27 people like this
Posted by fairmeadow, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 20, 2020 at 4:40 pm

Let them give it a shot, I applaud them for experimenting!!

 +   14 people like this
Posted by Overpriced food, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 20, 2020 at 8:16 pm

And if you check the tock website, the meal if for a minimum of 2 people at 98 per person, so for a couple you are already paying $200:for the food alone.
Oh and single people need not order. They will not do a meal for just one person. It was thee same way with their indoor eating- single people not welcome.
I predict they will be closed again soon.

 +   21 people like this
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 20, 2020 at 9:29 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

I hope that this works out for them! Small business owners -- including double Michelin star restaurants like Baume -- are suffering tremendously due to such closures.

 +   5 people like this
Posted by The Reluctant Gourmet, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jul 21, 2020 at 8:58 am

> "...the meal if for a minimum of 2 people at 98 per person, so for a couple you are already paying $200:for the food alone."

^ But try to look on the bright side...the courses are probably served in eco-friendly recyclable boxes and the plastic dining utensils special in some way.

For $98.00 (2) + tax, monogrammed cloth napkins should also accompany each meal or something is terribly wrong with the picture.

Expensive gourmet 'happy meals' need to be a cut above the standard take-out's called value-added.

 +   9 people like this
Posted by Green Gables, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jul 21, 2020 at 5:23 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

Michelin star restaurants are not inexpensive so Reluctant Gourmet go somewhere else. I ate there when it was only a one star; it was delicious and worth every dollar spent.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Maren, a resident of Community Center,
on Jul 23, 2020 at 5:49 pm

I just wish those of us who are single could splurge on a dinner take out. I recently had a milestone birthday, sheltering in place alone, and would have loved to purchase the meal for myself.
Hope they will rethink that.

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Maren, a resident of Community Center,
on Jul 23, 2020 at 5:54 pm

I went to their website and the To Go menu may be ordered for 1 to 6 people. It is possible for those of us to dine alone to order. The next available for a single person was next week.

 +   2 people like this
Posted by zcareys, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jul 23, 2020 at 7:08 pm

zcareys is a registered user.

Let's root for everyone! People have to be creative.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC, a resident of College Terrace,
on Aug 4, 2020 at 11:17 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

Not long after their opening, I heard it really was not worth the money. (I've eaten at Michelin starred restaurants in France. It's not that I wouldn't, infrequently, spend the money, but it has to be amazing.) I particularly dislike that they don't accept singles, which I just learned here. Not in the case of a prix fixe tasting menu, but I usually spend almost as much as two people at many restaurants. I've never eaten at Tadich Grill after it wouldn't give me a table for one. (Late afternoon.) I doubt Baume takeout is better than Sundance or Zoe's.

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