MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
Founded as a private dining club for its wealthy owner, this Korean-influenced, tasting-menu shoebox was too good to remain a secret for too long. Suss out its well-hidden location, amidst the shops of downtown Palo Alto, and you’ll be ushered into this impossibly chic nightly dinner party, with just 16 seats at the communal table. Get ready to chat up your neighbors—and given Maum's prominence on the VC scene, hear a bit of shop talk as well. The name is Korean for “from the heart,” and naturally, family is at this restaurant’s heart. Chefs Michael and Meichih Kim are a married couple, whose hospitality and welcoming demeanor create a social and exuberant contrast against their refined cuisine and wine—starting with such exquisite canapés as soondae (blood sausage) dotted with preserved shrimp, or Kusshi oysters dusted with kimchi snow. Korean food aficionados will be astounded by the heights to which these chefs can take simple ingredients. Imagine the likes of fresh warm tofu with a savory drizzle of soy sauce, or galbi ssam bap starring tender grilled Wagyu wrapped in lettuce and enhanced with soybean paste. A lovely strawberry sorbet makes for a lingering send-off.