Truth be told, I now live just outside of Philly in Bucks County, and at times trying to find restaurants close to me with vegan options beyond a salad can be challenging. I saw that Bristol Borough was holding its first Restaurant Week March 3rd through March 10th and figured there really wouldn’t be any place that would offer any substantial vegan options. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mill Street Cantina not only was offering a vegan three course meal, but a meal that seemed to have some thought behind it!
We got to the restaurant just after 5PM. It is a small place, bright and comfortable, decorated as you would envision a Mexican cantina should be. We were greeted right away and seated at a high table right by the window. The wait staff is very friendly, attentive and accommodating. The owner, Tim, walks around and checks in with his dinner guests on what seems like a regular basis and is genuinely interested in the feedback from his guests.
Right after being seated, we were presented with fresh tortilla chips with salsa and salsa verde. The verde is bright and fresh with a slightly sour note, the red has a good tomato flavor with a nice acidic kick.
We started with a couple of glasses of their ‘Small Batch Sangria’ Tonight’s flavor was Apple Crisp Sangria – a refreshing ice cold glass of a really good sweet and sour apple drink.
Our First Course was the Vegan Croquette; two awesomely crispy balls of rice, sweet corn, and black beans breaded in panko and served with a piquillo pepper sauce that was nice and spicy with a decent punch of smoky flavor. I was excited to find that not only was the outside perfectly fried but the inside was creamy and not at all dry. So far we were off on the right culinary foot and anticipation was heightened for the next courses.
The main course was the Vegan Paella, a nicely presented plate of roasted mushrooms, quinoa paella and chili grilled tofu. The mushrooms were deeply roasted and packed full of umami flavor. The paella, made with sweet corn and black beans, also had great umami flavor which paired very well with the nuttiness of the quinoa. The tofu seemed to be pan seared and had a deep spicy and smoky flavor. The drizzle of sauce packed a good size spice kick and a deep smoked paprika flavor. The only minor issue I had with the tofu was that it was a bit ‘wet’ when I cut it. Perhaps I am just used to a more dry tofu and so it could just be a personal preference. It by no means took away from the flavor or enjoyment of this dish!
We ended with the dessert course of Vegan Chocolate Mousse. It was served with a spiced Malbec poached pear and a red wine caramel sauce. The mousse was a creamy, silky deep chocolate flavor delight. I am a self professed chocoholic and this truly satisfied my chocolate fix. However – and much to my surprise – the pears and red wine caramel stole the show, or should I say plate? The pears were sweet, tender and had a deep flavor to them that went perfectly with the rich tasting red wine caramel sauce that had hints of orange and cinnamon. This dessert was outstanding, and hands down the best I have had at a non vegan restaurant. I would be happy to have a huge bowl of those pears and sauce any day!
It was great to see three thoughtful and well executed plates of food from Mill Street. They could have easily ‘phoned it in’ and served roasted veggie tacos and a fruit compote, but they didn’t and I for one enjoyed that they didn’t! This was three very solid offerings for restaurant week and it makes me hopeful that I now have a local place to get some good vegan eats outside the city.