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Jul 24, 2004 10:48 PM


  • d

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 Plus it features winter vegetable items and while presumably the web site is out of date that too suggests a less-than-contemporary approach.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....

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  1. 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.



    2 Replies
    1. re: Liz
      Robert Lauriston

      Incanto's special basil dinner coming up on August 9 is pretty vegetable-centric.


      1. re: Liz

        Thanks for the Incanto tip and for the review too. It looks fantastic but alas, I shall only be in SF on a Tuesday this month-- the one night they are closed. I shall definitely plan on my August trip.

      2. r
        Robert Lauriston

        Chez Panisse Cafe always has a lot of great vegetable dishes.

        Though Cafe Rouge is generally regarded as meat-centric, the vegetable accompaniments to the main dishes are often the best part of the meal.


        1. 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)