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Duck “ddukgalbi” at Maum — a version of the traditional dish with ground duck meat pressed into a cylinder and shaped around a duck bone
Duck “Dduckgalbi” with scallion salad

Maum’s Korean Tasting Menu Brings Serene Fine Dining to Downtown Palo Alto

Tickets for the very limited seatings are now on sale

Maum, a tasting-menu only restaurant that was previously only available as a private club, will open up to the public starting July 12.

The dining room is an oasis on busy University Avenue, but it won’t compete for business with Burma Ruby or Slider Bar next door: The restaurant features only one table with 16 seats, and will offer one 7 p.m. seating on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at opening.

It’s a rarefied dining experience at $165 per person, plus wine pairings, that is the result of Korean venture capitalist Brian Koo’s desire for a taste of home. Maum, which means “from the heart,” was originally conceived as a space that served as a private dinner destination for investors. Now, it’s phase one in a series of plans for Korean-focused beauty, retail, and BBQ restaurants, bringing a stronger Korean presence to the Peninsula.

Chefs are married couple Michael and Meichih Kim, both of who have serious fine dining resumes. (Michael has worked at Redd in Yountville, and at SPQR with Matt Accarrino; Meichih has spent time at Benu and Per Se.) Master sommelier Rebecca Fineman and master sommelier candidate Chris Gaither have chosen pairings like sparkling riesling, Santa Barbara granache, and grand cru riojas.

Kim describes the dishes as a modern interpretation of his memories of growing up as a kid in Los Angeles’ Koreatown and his trips overseas, but in a modern framework. Wagyu galbi, a dish of pristine heirloom tomatos with kelp, and custom Tsar Nicolai caviar served with a seaweed biscuit are just some of those interpretations. Desserts, led by Meichih, are delicate and veer away from sweetness; one option includes a single scoop of barley ice cream atop puffed buckwheat.

“Soondubu” with alliums and soy

A salad of peeled cherry tomatoes at Maum
Tomatoes with cucumber, kelp, and vinegar
Chocolate mignardise

The space was originally designed by Lundberg Design (Mourad, Quince) as an exclusive space for private dinners; it’s now transitioned seamlessly into a public restaurant, albeit a very exclusive one. A single Douglas fir trunk was used to create the 16-seat table, the shelves adorning the wall, and “door” panels at the entrance. Custom lighting brings focus to the table, and the kitchen, while the walls remain bare with the exception of shelves with minimal ceramics.

The entrance to Maum. Four Douglas fir slabs open and shut to create privacy from the street.
Interior of Maum, with one long communal table
A view into the kitchen
Looking towards the entrance on University Avenue
Maum’s discrete entrance
Custom ceramics

Tickets are on sale now via Tock. Seatings are available at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday only.

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