Recently I had the opportunity to dine at Sean McClain's new Chicago restaurant, Green Zebra, which focuses on vegetables but is not vegetarian. I really like his approach, and it has led me to wonder whether I should try Greens after all, or if there are other creative and chef-driven vegetable-centric restaurants in SF? The Greens menu on line still reflects a Moosewood (or Greens) era sensibility to me, with pita this, pasta that, curry the other. Plus it features winter vegetable items and while presumably the web site is out of date that too suggests a less-than-contemporary approach. I am not a vegetarian but would like to know more places that consider and present vegetables as more than an afterthought or enhancement. Incidentally, I have not been to Slanted Door at the new location but I don't generally care for lemongrass, cilantro, coconut, rice paper, and other flavors I associate with Vietnamese-inflected food....
Try Stoa in Palo Alto. I've only had ap's at the bar (which were very good), but the menu looks great and I've heard raves.
How more vegi-centric can you get than this:
"In terms of entrees, STOA chef Rick Vargas utilizes seasonal vegetables like squash and mushrooms. An intriguing dish, the butternut-squash steak ($18), served with forbidden black rice, caramelized garlic cashew vinaigrette, and blistered green beans, paired the sweetness of the squash with a salty rice. Prepared as half a squash, cooked and crisped on one side, the steak is distinct in texture and flavorful. The most unusual aspect of the dish however, is the inclusion of the black rice. Literally black in color, the short-grain rice is powerful in flavor, yet a touch too salty overall. Visual presentation is attractive, as the orange squash created sharp contrast with the black rice." (from the attached write up in a Palo Alto paper)
I would suggest that you try Incanto in upper Noe Valley. We ate there for the first time tonight and I was impressed by the respectful attention given to local, in-season, and heirloom produce.
I'll try to post a full report tomorrow.