Eating Out in San Francisco, Part II: Dinner at Millennium

9 Aug

Read Part 1: Lunch at the Zuni Café

After stuffing ourselves full of delicious Zuni Café roast chicken at lunch, we spent the rest of our San Francisco afternoon shopping in Union Square and Chinatown (I bought a dress, some shoes, a ring, a scarf, and a comforter – because that’s a really easy thing to bring home in a suitcase, right?!), and then finally ended up at Millennium for dinner. Millennium is a vegetarian restaurant that specializes in healthy, sustainable, environmentally-friendly foods, served in a very up-scale manner. In fact, their entire menu is actually vegan – completely free of animal products – but they stick with the vegetarian label because it is more approachable. Nonetheless, the phrase “vegetarian restaurant” can conjure up images of aging hippies eating bean sprouts, brown rice, and tofu by the forkful, not ladies sporting Fendi Spy handbags, enjoying sophisticated food in an elegant, white-linen’d dining room. But that’s exactly what Millennium delivered. Plus they had these really cool light fixture things:

Apparently the “fishnet” is made of recycled paper bags, and the curtains behind are made from recycled plastic bags. Talk about sustainable!

The menu was quite extensive, but after some serious perusing, we settled on appetizers. My uncle had the Crusted Oyster Mushrooms, breaded in rice and sesame flour and deep fried, which looked like calamari and were deliciously crunchy. He was a little disappointed because they didn’t taste very mushroom-y, so maybe breading and deep-frying wasn’t the best treatment for something as subtle as an oyster mushroom.My aunt had a black bean and caramelized plantain torte.I had the Chickpea Panisse: a chickpea purée with a firm, almost custard-like texture that was panfried like polenta and served with sautéed mushrooms, onions, raisins, and spiced almonds on top and a roasted garlic-cashew cream sauce underneath. I love chickpeas so this was an easy choice for me. Yummy.Next up were the entrées. My uncle continued with the mushroom theme and got the Huitlacoche Tamale, but again found that the mushroom flavour wasn’t as prominent as he was hoping for.My aunt had a coconut curry dish that she said was full of very interesting flavours.I had the Brick Pastry, which turned out to be a strudel-like construction of very thin pastry rolled around a filling of seitan, sautéed chard, potatoes, and mushrooms, served over black lentils, green beans, and mushrooms, with a red currant sauce. It was delicious. I’d never had seitan before, and the flavour was quite strong, but still tasty, and the whole thing was balanced really nicely by the acidity of the red currant sauce. And the lentils were awesome – they were almost my favorite part (I never thought I’d say that about lentils!).Then my aunt and I shared a dessert. This one was seriously mind-blowing: you would never guess that it wasn’t packed full of dairy and eggs. We had the Chocolate Midnight, which was white chocolate and dark chocolate-mocha mousse on a chocolate nut crust with raspberry sauce. Absolutely to die for.Their dessert menu was perhaps the most impressive, because it was all egg- and dairy-free but they still managed to make several kinds of ice cream. Our server told us they use different bases of coconut, almond, rice, and soy milks, and somehow they can even make a dairy-free, vegan “buttermilk” ice cream! I want to go back just to try all their desserts.

This was a really impressive meal and a great example of amazing food – vegetarian, vegan, or otherwise. I didn’t even notice that there wasn’t any meat in my meal, and I certainly didn’t miss it! If you are in San Francisco, definitely give Millennium a visit – try the ice cream and report back to me!

Millennium on Urbanspoon

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12 Responses to “Eating Out in San Francisco, Part II: Dinner at Millennium”

  1. Jen August 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    The wedge/slice things in my coconut curry were pistachio-crusted tofu. Overall, the complexity of flavours in that dish was really astonishing. It’s interesting, looking at the photos – I don’t think the presentation of the food does justice to how good it was, somehow.

    Love that you remembered the Spy! LOL.

    • Korena August 9, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

      I know what you mean about the presentations – it just looks like regular food and doesn’t really give away what’s going on, ingredient- or flavour-wise.

      And yes I remembered the bag, but I thought it was called a Birkin – I had to go through your blog to figure out which one it actually was! LOL. Obviously your handbag obsession isn’t rubbing off on me…

      • Jen August 10, 2011 at 10:14 am #

        > Obviously your handbag obsession isn’t rubbing off on me…

        Good thing, too. :-)

  2. LeisureGuy August 9, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    It was a very good meal. I do want my mushroom dishes to taste of MUSHROOM, though. :)

  3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide August 10, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    That light is crazy, couldn’t they just have bought vintage? Ha, normally I don’t care about the decor, honestly. Funny lights are fine as long as the food’s good. I love the menu, great looking meal. That dessert, wow!

  4. Wendy August 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    Wow! Two fabulous restaurants in one day! It almost looks like you’d think you’d died and gone to heaven at this one. I LOVE that vegan food can be this good! (I wish I had been able to taste it!)

    • Korena August 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

      The whole time we were there I was thinking, “Mum would LOVE this place!”

  5. Jenn Denby August 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Paul and I ate there when we were in town for our honeymoon, it was a wonderful gift from my brother and his girlfriend. We had some amazing food but the dessert was definitely the best part. We had some decadent chocolate thing, but the one I remember more was an apple/cranberry crumble with a rose-water infused ice “cream” (I can’t remember what the actual base was). Definitely worth the somewhat apprehensive foray for two non-food-adventurers!

    • Korena August 22, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

      What a great wedding present – you guys were very brave to check it out! That dessert sounds incredible – like I said, I want to go back JUST for the desserts.

      (It was great to see you this weekend!)

  6. wattwurmnashi June 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    OMG!! PLANTAIN TART!! I LOVE plantains! I usually refuse to eat at vegan places but you so had me at plantain tart, although your chickpea panisse also sounds really good. The hubby & I are going to be in the Bay Area for ~2 weeks in Aug, this place has just jumped the list! Thank you so much for letting me know about this place.

    • Korena in the Kitchen June 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

      Oh my gosh, this was such a good meal – vegan, vegetarian or otherwise! I hope you make it to Millennium and enjoy it as much as I did :) (And I also recommend Zuni Cafe in SF – we had an awesome lunch there too.)

      • wattwurmnashi July 10, 2014 at 4:34 am #

        Thanks, yes I read that review too but Millennium appeals to me more, will see if we make it to Zuni as well. Gonna make its way on my blog eventually but probably in like 5 years’ time, ha ha

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