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AUGUST 11, 2007 12:05 AM

Another Jaw-Dropping Performance from Chef Miller.
Technically, the act of jaw-dropping is necessary for masticating even the most lackluster meals, so I suppose I should have said "awe-inspiring". After our third trip to Bloom, we're still waiting for signs that Chad Miller is a genuine human being and not a humanoid form of culinary super-intelligence from the vegan planet Perfectopia. Okay. He's human. There are animal products on the menu. (Make sure to harangue him about that when you visit. And you will. Visit. And harangue.) But when you're eating his vegan fare, you'll find it very hard to believe that an omnivore is pulling the switches. There are no sauces to disguise ingredients, no lame pasta-and-overcooked-vegetable travesties, and absolutely NO portobore-o mushrooms in the vicinity. Just lovely, fresh whole foods (and a little tofu) imaginatively combined, expertly prepared, stunningly presented, and affordably priced (the dish pictured above is $12.00 on the dinner menu). Enough effusive praise already. Here's what we had for dinner:

Nature's Bounty, Ligurian Olive Oil, Sea Salt
This dish is on the regular menu under "starters". It sounds silly, but the sea salt in this tasty little cornucopia (sans horn) is mind-blowing all by itself.

Chanterelle Mushroom Soup, Peanut, Corn, Chives
It looks and tastes like a cream soup, but the secret is a little tofu in the puree. Rich, savory, earthy, and...

...poured out before you table-side by the chef himself (so that you can enjoy seeing the ingredients that escaped the mixer before they're "in the soup", as it were).

Tofu Triumvirate
The next step was a set of three tofu dishes. The one pictured at the top of the post is braised tofu, carrot, onion, carrot puree, and chives. The liquid was quite simply an onion lover's dream. I could have eaten it on its own as a soup! The other two dishes featured perfect pan seared tofu and...

Roast Beets, Candied Orange, Soy Caramel, Micro Greens

Pinto Beans, Corn, Bell Pepper, Caramelized Onion Puree, Pink Peppercorn
Did you know that pink "peppercorn" isn't really peppercorn at all? It's a flower bud from the rose family, apparently. Though I didn't get this dish, I did manage to steal several of these remarkable ersatz peppercorns. Amazing flavor. Finally, it was time for dessert...

Bring us a figgy, gingery, cucumbery treat (if you have one on hand)!
Some of these ingredients may seem like strange bedfellows, but I am at a loss to express how delicious, refreshing, and light this unlikely dessert tasted. You're looking at roasted fig and diced cucumber in a light vanilla bean syrup with ginger sorbet, crushed candied almond, and candied ginger (the garnish is a cucumber sauce).