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Millennium Restaurant

Should I start a review of a vegan restaurant by stating that the day after, I was riddled with meat lust? Probably not, but I will say that Millennium, San Francisco's premier destination for organic, vegan fine dining has reached a lovely, effective apex in its new location in the Theater District. With high ceilings, Victorian class, reams of orange sherbet-colored fabric, and a menu more complex than a Borges story, Millennium truly rules the school when it comes to a totally different way to have dinner.

Fresh to the Savoy Hotel from its old locale on McAllister in the Abigail, Millennium was packed on a recent Wednesday night with the tattooed, the long-haired, the subtle, and the intellectual. Sipping non-alcoholic "restorative cocktails" like the kava colada ($5), as well as juiced-up sauce like the drunken grapefruit ($8, organic gin and fresh grapefruit juice on the rocks) and delish organic wine by the flight, the learned crowd noshed on nutty edamame-shiso gratin ($8), almost-hearty morel mushroom-syrah ragout over sweet corn polenta ($8), and quite possibly the best cold dish on earth: Asian avocado timbale ($10 app, $13 entrée). Whoa. Ripples of fresh red leaf lettuce skirt a cylinder of guacamole, ginger-marinate shiitake mushrooms, sprout salad, toasted five-spice cashews, and a miso-date dipping sauce. A-mazing.

Entrees were fine, with a fairly compelling roasted abalone (a.k.a. eryngii) mushroom with coconut-thyme pintos and an anomalous lemon-caper chili mojo sauce ($17), and asparagus and pine nut farcie wrapped in phyllo, set upon yummy porcini gravy with an overpowering sun-dried tomato, olive and garbanzo salad and grain mustard cream. I had heard from a colleague that the entrees at Millennium had "too many flavors," and I thought the idea preposterous (who doesn't like flavors!?!), until I experienced the phenomenon first hand. I'm not saying it was bad, because dinner was really delicious, all the way down to the dairy-free mango crème brulee ($7.50), but I'll agree, some of the dishes are a little overwrought. No harm, no foul. It's an elegant, lovely destination, whether you eat meat or not.