Millennium for Thanksgiving

28 11 2012

What do you do if your family doesn’t do a big Thanksgiving anymore, and you don’t even eat turkey? Go to Millennium! Millennium is an upscale vegan restaurant near Union Square in SF, and mom was smart enough to make a reservation for Thanksgiving months ago when no one knew what their plans were going to be. I mean, you can always cancel the reservation, right? Good thinking, mom.

Schmancy salad!

They had a prix fixe menu for Thanksgiving evening, which included an appetizer plate for the table, soup, salad, choice of two mains, and choice of two desserts for $65 per person. An optional wine pairing was offered for an additional $28, in which our party did not partake due to being: a) cheap, and b) already sufficiently pre-partied. Sadly, since I didn’t snag one of their menus (or a picture of it — what was I thinking!), I don’t have the huge list of superfluous descriptions for each dish. In fact, I will probably barely be able to even describe what the damn things were since Millennium has a way of creating highly enigmatic menu summaries*.

Anyway. We started with a weird appetizer plate for the table to share. It included a couple different types of bread (corn bread, sourdough, and walnutty bread), some really really good cauliflower dip, truffle pop corn (I guess the truffle out-chics the low-rent-ness of the pop corn? we were puzzled by this), roasted chestnuts, and something lentil-y. It was kinda odd, but certainly entertained us. Especially since mom ate the chestnuts whole. Are you supposed to do that?

Appetizer plate for the table.

Next came the celery bisque, which we were all skeptical about, to be honest, but was really, really good. It was served hot (thankfully) and had excellent flavor. And it was salty enough, which is often a problem for me with a veggie-based soup.

Pretend like this photo doesn’t suck. It was dark in there and I hate flashes.

The salad was pretty standard, just some greens and a sweet-ish vinaigrette. We got a good shot of Danny showing his true feelings about this particular choice of restaurant that evening…

Danny isn’t super excited about vegan Thanksgiving. But he was a good sport anyway.

Next was one of two mains. A mushroom torte or pumpkin something. They each came with some brussel sprouts and potatoes (or maybe it was daikon? we weren’t sure at the time), something fluffy and starchy that emulated stuffing, home-made cranberry sauce stuff, and syrupy sweet potatoes. I got the mushroom (which, oddly, is a similar consistency to turkey); the other three got the squash. They were both very yummy.

Pumpkin main course.

Mushroom torte main course. The mushrooms are on the right under some kind of puree and gravy. Yum.

For dessert, the choices were pumpkin pie or chocolate pecan pie. I do not like either of these, even at non-vegan restaurants, though I don’t doubt that they were well made. I ordered the chocolate pecan hoping it was more chocolate than pecan, but, alas, it was not. I think mom finished her pumpkin, as she does, but dessert was definitely the weakest course for all of us.

Chocolate pecan pie and ginger ice cream (me no like-y). The pumpkin pie is not pictured; it looked like regular pumpkin pie. Use your imagination.

Overall we had a really good time and a great meal. I would highly recommend this place for Thanksgiving. It was easy, not ridiculously expensive, super filling (we all regretted the appetizers we consumed at my house beforehand), and generally very tasty. And I didn’t have to wash one single dish. Booya. Happy Thanksgiving, peeps.

*A dish description from their standard dinner menu is as follows: “brik pastry dough, Kuri squash, grilled seitan & dried apricot filling, beluga lentil & tomato tagine, sauteed fall greens, Fresno chile harissa, cucumber-mint raita, cinnamon-almond dust”. I could start a long list of questions, or just shrug and order something because pretty much everything is really good despite the ridiculous descriptions.





Millennium

23 01 2011
Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 5/5   ♦   Value: 4/5
Times Visited: One  ♦   Will I Return?:  Pretty please?
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Don’t you just love San Francisco? I sure do. It’s not in every bum town you find a vegetarian restaurant that offers the finest of fine dining. The Bay Area has such a variety of people and such a diversity of interests and specialties that the very best of everything is corralled right into the seven- by seven-mile area that is San Francisco. And it’s absolutely fabulous for those of us living on the fringes.

Millennium offers the best of the best for vegetarian food and even has a writer at the San Francisco Magazine quoted describing their menu as being able to, “intrigue even the most devoted carnivores among us”. Indeed, I challenge any carnivore with an open palette to make a reservation at Millennium. It is so amazingly good.

This renowned restaurant is actually tucked away into the lobby of a Best Western of sorts, just near Union Square. It’s a bit of an odd situation, but nothing seems the worse for it. The dining area is dim and sophisticated (think dark wood and marble tiled floors) and the room appears to be continuously filled to the brim with ball gowns, Armani ties, ripped jeans, lip rings and everything in between. The atmosphere is at once chic and grunge; it’s amazing.

Millennium Restaurant interior

Looking down on one side of the dining room and the central bar from the hotel lobby balcony.

When you look at the menu you’ll see why: the fabulously creative, new-age dishes wholly exclude any animal products, perhaps drawing the square-rimmed glasses and full-arm tattoos, while the $25/plate price tag draws the open-minded sophisticates. The juxtaposition makes for a fabulously comfortable and positively humming atmosphere any night of the week.

So, the atmosphere is unique and decidedly rad. The menu? The same. I’ll be honest and say that my one problem with the menu is that it was hard for me — an ordinary food lover and unabashed* chain-restaurant goer — to discern exactly what most of the dished actually were. The ingredients are listed and, though some of those were a mystery as well, the descriptions often failed to let me know how these items were going to actually appear on my plate.

Squash raw-violi

My dinner: Squash Raw-violi - Raw squash slices with all kinds of veggies and other stuff in the middle (similar to the construction of ravioli) and on top. Fabulous.

For example, regarding the description of the Yuba Roulade, I wasn’t getting a great mental picture of what my plate was actually going to look like: “seared shiitake mushroom, wilted winter greens & Char siu style seitan filling, edamame-horseradish mashed potatoes, seared Brussels sprouts with black bean-ginger oil, star anise-shallot-red wine reduction”. What I did find after sampling four dishes (mine and my friends’) is that the descriptions absolutely don’t matter. You could close your eyes and just pick something and it would be incredible.

Appetizers

Appetizers: Beet salad and fried something or other... both great.

Dinner

Pasta with Tempeh something or other. So. Damn. Good.

To be perfectly honest, I ate there a couple months ago and didn’t write down each dish we ordered. And because they change their menu constantly (fresh, fresh, fresh!), most of these items aren’t on the website. In my personal opinion, however, this is trivial as everything was so ridiculously fabulous. Overusing adjectives is required.

Dinner

This one is the Maple Roasted Winter Squash: hazelnut-farro risotto with chanterelle mushrooms, baby artichokes & gigante beans, Formanova beet & red wine reduction, braised fennel & treviso salad.

Recommendation: Make a reservation no matter what day you intend to go. They are booked all the time; this place is no secret!

Chocolate Cake

Even vegetarians don't skimp on dessert: Chocolate Almond Midnight - Almond cashew crust, mocha chocolate filling, raspberry sauce, white chocolate mousse.

*Fine, maybe I’m mildly ashamed.





Restaurant Index

22 12 2009

The following is an alphabetically indexed list of the restaurants that have been reviewed on this website followed by the date the review was published and the location of the restaurant.  To suggest a restaurant, leave a comment at the bottom of the page!

To sort posts by type of food or location, use the gadgets along the right side of the page.

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AkaihanaJapanese, Nov 21 2009 – Foothill Boulevard, Hayward

Art’s Crab ShakSeafood/Steak, May 28, 2011 – Foothill & C St., Hayward

A Slice of New YorkPizza, April 12, 2010 – Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose

AstariaAmerican, September 16, 2010 – East 3rd Avenue, San Mateo

B Restaurant - American, September 1, 2011 – 9th Street, Oakland

Banchero’sItalian, Feb 19, 2010 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

Bombay GardenIndian, Jan 20 2010 – Mowry Avenue, Newark

Buon AppetitoItalian, April 8, 2010 – A Street, Hayward

Buon Appetito RevisitedItalian, March 7, 2011 (see above)

Cafe BiereAmerican, November 21, 2010 – Adeline Street, Emeryville

Cafe RehobothEthiopian, June 22, 2010 – 6th Street, San Jose

California Gyro and PizzaGreek, Feb 6, 2010 – Mission Blvd., Hayward

CeladonAmerican, April 5, 2011 – Main Street, Napa

Chef’s ExperienceChinese, Jan 25, 2010 – Foothill Boulevard, Hayward

China Best RestaurantChinese, Jun 2, 2010 – Hayward Boulevard, Hayward

Claim JumperAmerican, July 1, 2010 – Auto Mall Parkway, Fremont

Coach SushiJapanese, September 4, 2010 – Grand Avenue, Oakland

Crepes de ArtCrepes, February 11, 2011 – Foothill Boulevard, Hayward

Dell CafeAmerican/Breakfast, April 10, 2011 – Castro Valley Blvd, Castro Valley

Don Jose’sMexican, Dec 21 2009 – Castro Valley Boulevard, Castro Valley

El Rancho TaqueriaMexican, May 7, 2010 – Redwood Road, Castro Valley

El ToritoMexican, Jan 11 2010 – Vintage Park Drive, Foster City

Emil Villa’s Hickory PitAmerican, June 18, 2010 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

Family House of Fish & PoultryFish ‘n Chips, March 12, 2011 – Mission Blvd., Hayward

Favorite IndianIndian, Jan 3 2010 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

Fish.Fish ‘n Chips/Seafood, May 8, 2010 – Harbor Drive, Sausalito

GenghixAsian Fusion/Japanese, Sept 24, 2010 – Redwood Road, Castro Valley

Ghion Ethiopian RestaurantEthiopian, Mar 5 2010 – Park Ave., San Jose

GreensAmerican/Vegetarian, October 2 2011 – Fort Mason, San Francisco

Hayward Farmer’s Market – October 9, 2010 – Watkins Street, Hayward

Hayward Japan GrillJapanese, Aug 29, 2010 – C Street, Hayward

HomeroomMac and Cheese, April 23, 2011 – 40th Street, Oakland

Honey HoneyCrepes, June 6, 2010 – Post Street, San Francisco

Hs LordshipsSea/Steak, Dec 19 2009 – Seawall Drive, Berkeley

Hungry Howie’sPizza, Nov 10 2009 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

IronsideAmerican, Pizza, Soup/Salad/Sandwich, Sept 19, 2011 – 2nd Street, SF

Jay’s Fish & ChipsFish ‘n Chips, April 20, 2010 – Foothill Boulevard, Hayward

JD’sAmerican, November 28, 2010 – Castro Valley Boulevard, Castro Valley

JupiterPizza, May 19, 2010 – Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

Katsu RestaurantJapanese, April 25, 2010 – Redwood Road, Castro Valley

Kokyo Sushi BuffetJapanese, December 5, 2010 – B Street, Hayward

Kokyo Sushi Buffet — RevisitedJapanese, January 5, 2011 (see above)

Koyomi - Japanese, June 19, 2011 – Castro Valley Boulevard, Castro Valley

La ImperialMexican, January 1, 2011 – C Street, Hayward

Lake ChaletSeafood/Steak, August 7, 2011 – Lakeside Drive, Oakland

LanesplitterPizza, June 12, 2010 – San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley

La PinataMexican, Feb 1 2010 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

Las Americas Peruvian RestaurantPeruvian, May 15, 2010 – B Street, San Mateo

LettuceSoup/Salad/Sandwich, March 20, 2011 – Locust Street, Walnut Creek

Loard’s Ice CreamDessert, Dec 4 2009 – Castro Valley Blvd, Castro Valley

London Fish ‘n Chips - Fish ‘n Chips, June 4, 2011 – Hesperian Blvd., Hayward

Los Dos HermanosMexican, July 18, 2010 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

Main Street DinerAmerican, October 17, 2010 – Main Street, Hayward

MijoriJapanese, July 31, 2010 – Grand Avenue, Oakland

MillenniumAmerican, Vegetarian, Jan 23, 2010 – Geary Street, San Francisco

Minami SushiJapanese, July 11, 2011 – Washington Blvd., San Leandro

Mountain Mike’sPizza, Dec 27 2009 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

MuaAmerican, Dec 19, 2010 – Webster Street, Oakland

Naked FishJapanese, Dec 22 2009 – Jackson Street, Hayward

New Kapadokia - Turkish, March 29, 2011 – Broadway, Redwood City

New York PizzaPizza, Jan 17 2010 – A Street, Hayward

Nona’s KitchenAmerican, Jan 15 2010 – Highway 1, Pacifica

Oliveto CafeAmerican/Italian, Feb 15 2010 – College Avenue, Oakland

OtaezMexican, Mar 11, 2010 – Webster Street, Alameda

PakwanIndian, March 31, 2010 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

Pancho VillaMexican, July 7, 2010 – B Street, San Mateo

ParadisoItalian, June 29, 2011 – Bancroft Avenue, San Leandro

Pepe’s TaqueriaMexican, October 31, 2010 – Mission Blvd., Hayward

Pyzano’s PizzeriaPizza, Feb 11 2010 – E. Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley

Red ChiliThai / Vietnamese, June 27, 2010 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

Roosevelt Tamale ParlorMexican, Jan 15, 2011 – 24th Street, San Francisco

ShashamaneEthiopian, August 5, 2010 – Broadway, Oakland

SpettroItalian, August 14, 2010 – Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland

Sugar Mommie CookiesDessert, January 31, 2011 – San Lorenzo (delivery only)

SylantroVietnamese, February 27, 2011 – San Leandro

Tacos UruapanMexican, Dec 15 2009 – Huntwood Avenue, Hayward

TandoorIndian, July 26, 2010 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

Taqueria AztecaMexican, Apr 16, 2010 – Amador Plaza Road, Dublin

The American – Soup/Salad/Sandwich, July 24, 2011 – 2nd Street, San Francisco

The RanchAmerican, August 23, 2010 – Mission Boulevard, Hayward

TomodachiJapanese, Feb 26, 2010 – Hesperian Blvd., Hayward

Top ThaiThai, Mar 24, 2010 – Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley

WakamatsuJapanese, July 8, 2010 – Foothill Boulevard, Hayward

YanagiJapanese, Dec 17 2009 – Dublin Boulevard, Dublin

Zorba’sGreek, May 24, 2010 – Amador Street, Hayward








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