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Oct 29, 2010 09:41 PM


Just had a great meal at Baleen. Won it in a charity auction, and was happily surprised. Good flavor combinations, fish cooked perfectly. A few minor misses- the corn gratin, the bread, but overall a very nice meal. Place was near vacant.

I had mussels & clams.
Interesting salad with Quark crepe- cheese was not the best quality, but a solid dish
Wood roasted grouper filet

She had a scallop appetizer with some very interesting flavor combinations
Scottish Salmon- it was a bit on the sweet side, but prepared and served perfectly

Couple glasses of Sonoma Cutrer (the only chard I'd drink) and we were good.

Yes, I'm sure it'd be better in Berlin.

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  1. Good to know. Given that it was already paid for from the auction, did you notice the pricing? My sense is that not many locals have it on their culinary map - not well known, little reviewed and pretty pricey. We used to LOVE Saturday lunch on the patio overlooking the bay until they decided to close for lunch and cut their overhead due to lack of patronage.

    I think the location might be a little more seductive than Berlin.

    4 Replies
    1. re: foodiechick

      The tab was $147 with wine and tax. Not cheap, but they did use quality ingredients.

      1. re: Fake Name

        I think it would have been cheaper in Berlin....

        1. re: Tripeler

          To be fair, I knew we were dining on a gift cert, and while we didn't get the lobster, we were not concerning ourselves with the prices.

        2. re: Fake Name

          But you know what, that's only $75 per person wine and tax included and, you know, that's not an unreasonable price for a good dining experience. I suspect all of us have spent more for a lot less

      2. We checked out Baleen a couple of years ago and were surprised at the high quality of the meal and absurdly poor service.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MrKrispy

          Service was pretty good last night. A little on the Chart House/Cohn Group side of over efficiency and familiarity, but friendly and very California. Goodeveningmynameisseanillbeyourwaitercanistartyouoffwithsomethingbesideswatertodrinkthisevening?

          I'm being unfair- it was just fine, and I'd prefer efficient to surly anytime. I also believe that visitors at a resort like this expect that type of service, especially from outside our fair state.

          So I'm being a fussy Chowhound.

        2. It's been quite awhile since I've dined at Baleen but it was really good when we did for lunch.
          I love grouper and sounds fab just roasted over a wood were the mussels and clams prepared?
          Did you notice if they have a Sunday Brunch?
          I wish they would open back up for summer..
          Glad you had a good time with Mrs. Fakey

          7 Replies
          1. re: Beach Chick

            Shellfish were steamed in a typical buttery herby broth- pretty light on the chorizo.

            While their "signature monkey bread" was really not very good, it just perked right up when saturated in the mussel/clam broth. What impressed me was the unexpected layers of flavor- my small greens with the grouper had thin shavings of crisp garlic (I assume fried). They didn't need to do that, it was fine, but they took the extra step. The scallops ordered by she-who-must-be-obeyed had some chanterelles and truffle "essence" that were quite good.

            Here's their menu:

            It was an odd dinner- the food was damn solid, but some odd clunkers- the cocktail menu was way off the mark, and stupid things- the wine list was a binder of those vinyl sheet protectors like from an Art 101 portfolio. And the place was nearly deserted on a Friday evening (yes stevywag, early- we're not 20 with a fake id, bro) and, while dining in near silence great, it was "too quiet". What a fussy CH, I know.

            Again, an enjoyable meal in an unexpected place.

            1. re: Fake Name

              Gawd..I HATE those wine list with the 1973 and not in a good way.

              1. re: Fake Name

                Since when is early dining associated with age ? I think it is more a different cultural background. People from Europe or stronger European background tend to prefer eating at later times (8 pm +) whereas Americans often tend to eat earlier.
                It's also very similar when we meet with friends for a party or BBQ. If an American organizes it most of the time the party starts at around 3pm and lasts until 8-9pm whereas if an European organizes it normally the party starts at 8pm and ends at 1am.

                1. re: honkman

                  Fair point. We eat at 8 and suffer less problems getting a reservation at that hour...except at Cucina Urbana.

                  1. re: honkman

                    Everyone knows anyone eating dinner between 4-6pm has to be at least 75 years old.

                    1. re: MrKrispy

                      Early Bird = Blue Hair Specials. In restaurants early dinner is always associated with advanced age. I'm not yet a senior, but I still prefer to eat early.
                      Haven't been to Baleen in years and forgot it was there. May have to try it again, especially if grouper appears often. Love me some grouper!

                      1. re: Island

                        They claim the grouper is fresh, and as I recall Tommy at Catalina was offering some recently. Given the scallops and the Scottish Salmon, sounds like Baleen's a customer. It was very good, and cooked right to the sweet spot- flaked nicely, not raw, but not dry,with a healthy crust.

                        I enjoy going places that can cook better than I (most places) and I'd have butchered that grouper all over again if I'd cooked it. Nice broth-y reduction underneath, too. Bowl/plate warm, salad not, and obviously just out of the kitchen. Same as the salmon.