Respond to Review of Millennium
Review: We've been to Millennium a few times, but somehow never bothered to write a proper review. In a city filled with wonderful vegan/vegetarian options, this venerable spot is the crown jewel. Tucked inside the quaint Hotel California just a few blocks from Union Square, Millennium has all the trappings of an upscale, fine-dining experience but deftly evades the stuffiness usually associated with such an affair. The top-notch cocktail menu and world-class (but locally focused) wine list don't hurt in that regard, but a kitchen that's accomplished enough to be playful is what really sets the tone. On our most recent visit, the globally-inspired, impossibly creative regular menu was replaced with a chef's prix-fixe tasting menu, complete with wine pairings. It's always fun to put your culinary fate in the hands of a creative professional (especially when you're confident they understand your dietary choices), and this was no exception. Our meal began with an amuse course of King Trumpet Mushroom "Crudo" served alongside an inventive Beet Tartare (not a typo). Both were delightful, but we were especially impressed by the way the chef created vegan versions of familiar "meat"-based dishes without feeling any obligation to make them actually taste like animal products (a phenomenon all-too-common at many veg eateries). The first course was a Blood Orange, Nopales and Watermelon Radish Ceviche, continuing the theme of appropriating "meat"-based conventions. (Instead of the traditional raw fish, we got citrus-marinated, brilliantly colored fruits.) It's tough to make a memorable salad, but they pulled it off with unique ingredients, a creative approach and an absolutely sublime wine pairing (Old World Winery 2010 Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley). The second course, Poori, was split down the middle, half green and half yellow, almost like a yin-and-yang of South Asian cuisine. On the left, we had a mild, creamy Punjabi soup and on the right a heartier Sri Lankan stew -- equally delicious eaten alone or together. For entrees, I got the Musquee De Provence Tortellini while my wife got the Black Garlic and Miso Glazed Abalone Mushroom. The mushroom dish was the standout with its variety of textures and heavenly sauce, but the tortellini helds its own, offering a symphony of earthy flavors. Black and White Layer Cake was easily the most decadent chocolate cake we've had -- vegan or otherwise. Long story short, Millennium is a must-visit restaurant whatever your diet.