Friday, May 13, 2011

Epic Eating at Ubuntu

Yes, we had a spectacular brunch at Millennium on Mother's Day proper, but I think the highlight of the weekend was still our Friday night dinner at Ubuntu. We had the Chef's Tasting Menu, and since there were two options for each course, all of which could be made vegan, we got to try one of everything! Actually I take that back - there was only one vegan dessert option.... but it was so good we were happy to have two. Join me in reliving this insanely wonderful feast, won't you? First up - some items not on the chef's menu but that we had to have anyway:
The olives in fennel pesto and the vadouvan spice almonds were full of crazy good flavor and were the perfect way to start our meal at Ubuntu. There are always olives and almonds on Ubuntu's menu, but the spices get changed up. Last time, we had citrus olives and lavender almonds, for example. You really can't go wrong though. They're guaranteed to be good no matter the variation.

First on the tasting menu was this duo of asparagus. In both roasted and raw form, and complimented by pine nuts and currants, this inventive dish screamed ASPARAGUS! and made me want to do the same. I love asparagus, and this homage to one of my favorite veggies was delicious.

Welcome to perfection. This artichoke and lime vichyssoise with crispy potatoes had us swooning. Why the flavors of artichoke, lime, and potato work together is beyond me, but the light broth with the hearty potatoes was divine. Oh, and there were kale chips too for crunch and the perfect touch of bitter green-ness. LOVED this dish.

The "Garden Snake" salad was next and was just as tasty as it was pretty. I love greens and these were fresh, crisp, and paired with edible flowers with just the right amount of seasoning to enhance their already brilliant taste.

And how pretty is that? These roasted beets and broccoli with yuzu kosho were AWESOME! I love beets and I love broccoli and getting to drag them through those little dots of highly-flavored sauce was so much fun. Another inventive and scrumptious dish.

The pasta for the evening was this fiore with artichoke and grapefruit. Again, whoddathunk to put those flavors together? But the bitterness of the grapefruit actually paired very well with the pasta, which was silky smooth and smothered in the herbaceous sauce/broth. Could have eaten two plates of this.

There were more savory dishes, but there was also a ton of wine, so forgive me for forgetting some. I did, however, get the dessert! You're looking at a deconstructed German chocolate cake. The chocolate cake strips are sitting atop an avocado puree and are topped with coconut sorbet and crushed spiced almonds. Oh. My. God. So good. There are really no words. I just closed my eyes and thanked the universe for such good food.

Ubuntu has gotten some bad press in the past, but I don't get it. I think it's some of the most wonderful vegan food you can get anywhere and I always enjoy my meals there. Yes, it's expensive. And yes, it's small plates, so you have to order more. But the quality and thoughtfulness is unparalleled. I will definitely be back.

Have a great weekend everyone! More food soon, promise. :)


laura said...

AWESOME REVIEW! I did an updated one earlier in the week on Vegansaurus and interviewed the chef for a piece in SF Weekly: I'm totally on board with Aaron London's Ubuntu now!!

Sky said...

I saw that as soon as I posted mine actually (and read the Week in Vegan, of course). Ubuntu rules - glad you're on board. You and me not in the same boat sounds sucky. :)

Mom said...

I think it was my best meal of the weekend.... but then again....

Adam said... may be expensive, but the food looks absolutely delicious. It seems like great place to spoil yourself every once in a while.