Gary Danko's: Dinner at an SF institution and wear stretchy pants sort of night
So, word on the street is that Gary Danko is to San Francisco what Charlie Trotter is to Chicago, that is, a haut dining temple, if you will. No jeans allowed, arrive on time, and most important, wear some stretchy pants–but dressy ones, because the food? It just. Don’t. STOP.
Thanks to my husband and the awesome Casey and Nash at AdMob (don’t their names sound like the names of a morning radio show team? Casey and Nash in the A.M.!), I had the pleasure of donning my own dressy stretch pants and checking out Gary Danko for myself.
Get ready for a ridiculous amount of food porn–five- five course meals worth. And if it would make you feel any better, by all means…put on some stretchy pants.
There are so many options on the Gary Danko tasting menu, I almost wanted to cry. Because making decisions at dinner? REALLY HARD for me. Some people seriously debate going to Harvard or state college, I seriously debate starting with fish or foie gras.
Before you can barely look at the menu, BOOM- amuse bouche. This one had I think a piece of arctic char and crispy lotus root. It was delicious, but I was it came after I had made my menu choices, so I could fully enjoy it.
The opening wine-Mount Eden Vineyards 2006 Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz mountains. Light, slightly fruity, but by no means sweet. A great starter wine.
My first course: Seared Ahi Tuna with Avocado, Nori, Enoki Mushrooms and Lemon Soy Dressing. This was super light and yet savory, a really refreshing first course!
Corn bisque with a chive biscuit and crab. Really pure corn flavor, and a great summer soup.
Seared Sonoma Foie Gras with Caramelized Red Onions and Cherries. Clearly, this was a rich starter, but the cherries added a nice bit of acidity to the dish.
My second course:Horseradish Crusted Salmon Medallion with Dilled Cucumbers and Mustard Sauce. This was another great, light and fresh dish featuring many of favorite flavors. I was surprised and almost a bit disappointed that the horseradish tasted sweet after cooking, as I really like it's sharp taste, especially with mustard and dill. But overall, another great, signature Gary Danko dish.
Roast Maine Lobster with Potato Purée, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Corn and Tarragon. A great dish, but definitely rich with the potato puree.
Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Nectarines, Pecans and Zatar Oil.
Coconut Thai Curry with Lemongrass, Calamari, Lobster, Scallions and Shiitake Mushrooms. This was by far my favorite of the fish and seafood dishes. The flavors were so fresh, and hit all the senses--spicy, sweet, sour, and umami. Loved this dish.
The second wine of the evening...I think it says, Wind Gap?
My third course, Juniper Crusted Bison with King Trumpet Mushrooms, Glazed Cipollini Onions and Herb Spatzle. This was ridiculously good--like a nice, juicy piece of beef. It was beautifully crusted in a way that caramelized the fat, making it crunchy and edible. The mushrooms were a bit much in this dish, and huge, which made them difficult to eat. But the meat in this dish? Gorgeous.
Prosciutto Wrapped Grouper with Lentils, Parsley, Royal Trumpet Mushrooms and Fava Beans. Another great, well-balanced seafood dish.
Roasted Pork Belly and Tenderloin with Potato-Ramp Purée, Peas, Bacon, Pickled Onions and Maple Glaze. What can I say? Another great dish, but by this point, I was reaching the wall.
Seared Filet of Beef with Yukon Potatoes, Zucchini, Mushrooms, Chard and Tomato-Eggplant Confit. I was way too full to even try this dish.
Lemon Pepper Duck Breast with Duck Hash, Carrot-Ginger Purée and Brandied Cherries. This was just...awesome. Yum.
Fourth course--the cheese cart. Whoa. I barely remember this course because I was so full, my head was swimming. Or maybe it was the wine...
And yet I still saved room for my fifth and final course--a trio of creme brulees (vanilla, butterscotch and chocolate). The butterscotch one was so good, I licked it cleaned. But only because Casey dared me.
Lemon Soufflé Cake with Crme Frache Panna Cotta and Raspberry Sorbet
Baked Chocolate Soufflé with Two Sauces. Whoa. I caught this in mid pour!
And the grand finale--a blueberry sour cream muffin as a "morning after" treat for the ladies.
Gary Danko was ….too much. It was fabulous and excessive and certainly not an every day meal, but something to be checked out. My only complaint was that the service seem to lag in the middle…the first two courses came and went speedily, but then then there was a 30 minute wait for the next course, and service was spotty at best after that. I’m normally not that picky when it comes to service, but when you’re paying over $100 a person, the details start to count.
That being said, I had a great and decadent meal. Thanks again to Casey and Nash!
800 North Point
San Francisco, CA