Oh, Millennium, how I love thee. Let me count the ways! It’s easy to do because Millennium is definitely a treat for all five senses. No matter what I’m doing in San Francisco, I always try to head to Millennium for at least one dinner.
Walking in from a chilly San Francisco evening, we were immediately met with the smell of warm spices. The savory perfume of herbs and spices and the distinctive aroma of garlic and mushrooms envelopes you right when you open the door. The variety of smells matches the variety of choices on the extensive vegan menu. No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong as the menus are designed to take advantage of the fresh produce that’s in season. Don’t forget to check out the wine list featuring organic wines from all over the world. Ask your server for pairings – they won’t steer you wrong.
In fact, every time I’ve been to Millennium, the servers have been warm, funny, knowledgeable and inviting. They certainly know their stuff and, when asked, will easily share their opinion on the various dishes. Listen closely as they describe each dish and you’ll hear the enthusiasm for the various choices on the extensive menu.
For example, our server described the risotto as “innovative”. Usually servers will describe a dish as “good” or “delicious”, but “innovative”? That convinced my friend to immediately order the risotto. And, it was indeed, innovative and delectable. The subtlety of truffle oils and barley risotto was interspersed with very large pieces of mushrooms. It was served with a pastry filled with celery root truffle butter which was crisp and savory.
Although I’d usually recommend to start off by sharing some of the small plates to arrive before the entrees. However, this time we were a bit selfish and ordered two small plates of the seared brussel sprouts so we didn’t have to share. They sprouts were cooked to perfection without the sharp taste that brussel sprouts can often have. They were served with smoked tofu which was salty and flavorful. The brussel sprouts were finished off with with green olives and crushed dried chili dust.
My creole spiced portabello and root vegetable gratin was made with exotic mushrooms, olive oil, sage, mashed potato, seitan sausage and topped with pine nut toasted bread crumbs. Carmelized apples were perched on the top and created the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The gratin was served seared brussel sprouts with cashew mushroom cream and toasted almonds. Once my fork broke the top crust of the gratin I could feel the steam and heat billow up. I knew I was in for a treat. It was served hot from the oven and left me with a warm feeling of filled satisfaction.
It’s difficult to save room for dessert, but, be sure to do so. The variety of vegan desserts is extraordinary. We opted for a trio of sorbets – pumpkin, apple cider, and orange/cranberry. I was amazed at the pop of flavor of the pumpkin flavor but was even more in awe of the perfect apple cider. Just the small touches of adding pomegranate seeds and little chunks of kiwi Millennium also serves up a variety of chocolate treats, fruit pastries, truffles and house-made cookies.
Reservations are recommended. Or, get there right as it opens (5:30) to grab a seat at the bar. You can see right into the kitchen. It’s a feast for the eyes watching the sous chef dance between the prep bar and the saute pan with ease.
The Millennium Restaurant is how an upscale vegan restaurant should be as it is symphony for all five senses. It’s classy decor, decadent menu and unique flavors have entranced me on every visit.
580 Geary Street (only a few short blocks from Union Square)
San Francisco, CA