Sunday, June 22, 2008


My sister and brother-in-law, Tennis took my husband and I to Gary Danko for my birthday. I've been wanting to try it for a long time. It is a cozy elegant restaurant.

The service is absolutely spot on with out being obtrusive. The waiters are friendly and very well informed, not stuffy at all as you might expect at a place like this.

We got there before my sister so had a drink in the small bar area, all the seats(11) were taken at the bar. We had to stand in the isle, trying to stay out of the way of the waiters. The waiter, actually 2 waiters came over immediately and asked us if we wanted a drink, brought us a drinks menu and we were served very quickly. Real linen napkins! As we were standing there I noticed the cheese keeper and the tray of cheeses. The cheese keeper has a temperature of 45 degrees, at least I'm assuming that's what the 45 was on the refrigerator looking keeper. The tray of cheeses were an assortment for the cheese course.

I was so tempted to take a peek into the kitchen, but I refrained. I should have.
After being seated were greeted by our server and he explained how the tasting menu worked etc. then left us to decide what we wanted. The amuse busche was a delicious cold corn chowder with a lump of crab. We then got a couple of slices of sour dough bread and butter. We (I) ordered the caviar to start. You get a 1oz. jar of Black River Osetra in a beautiful container, a dish of sour cream sauce and the best buckwheat blinis. I think the blinis out shined the caviar.. they were buttery, warm, soft..oh man. We then ordered our entrees.. we all opted for the tasting menu. What is great about the way they structure their tasting menu is that you can mix and match from the regular menu. We also had the wine pairing. Instead of the starter of oysters that was on the menu, I substituted the special of the soft shell crab and my sister,Jeanne and Tennis had the foie gras and Charlie had the oysters w/osetra caviar zucchini pearls and lettuce cream.

The wine I was served with my crab was the Gruner-Veltiner from Austria.

Second course my sister and I decided on the Lobster salad while Charlie and Tennis had the Horseradish crusted salmon. The lobster was OK, nothing special, apparently the salmon was to die for according to the guys. Our wines were a Bordeaux Blanc with the salmon and a very light non oaky Chardonnay with the lobster.

The main course was the Roasted Bison w/glazed Chippolini onions and herb Spatzle.
The wine was a Cab/Merlot/Cabernet Frac blend from California.

The next course was the cheese course.. all those cheeses. From that huge tray of cheeses. I ended up getting the Triple cream, a blue and the Tallegio. All the cheeses were good but I think my favorite was the Tallegio. With the cheeses was a bunch of grapes and crackers. The wine with this course was the Amarone della Valpolicella from Italy. The waiter named every cheese and where it was from, artesinal and hand crafted cheese. I asked him if they ever carried cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and he said they did every so often. I would think they would have had more local cheeses. What ever, the cheeses were fabulous. Of course there has to be desert.. which was the chocolate souffle with two sauces, a vanilla and a dark chocolate. Since Charlie didn't take the chocolate sauce I got his share. I don't normally like souffles but this one was outstanding. The final wine served was a Maury, Mas Amiel from France. Last but not least a plate of small pastries with a candle and Happy Birthday written on the plate.

Everything was fun and delicious. I would love to go back and try other dishes. I think next time I'd mix it up a bit more. While everything was delicious and the service perfect, my sister said she didn't think it was as good as the last time she had been there. And yes, here we go with the jaded thing... it wasn't WOW. I think the corn chowder and blinis were wow, the cheeses were exceptional and I did like the souffle.. compared to French Laundry it paled. Even compared The Kitchen I think I liked The Kitchen better. Would I go back? Yes, I would. Like I said I'd mix and match more. I'd pick my favorite foods rather than go with what the chef has on the tasting menu.. which I think is so cool you can create your own tasting menu and the waiters really work with you to make it the perfect meal. OK, so it's my fault I didn't do that this time, but since it was my first time I wanted to go with Chef Danko's menu. Was I impressed with the whole experience, Yes definitely.

Restaurant Gary Danko
800 North Pointe
San Francisco CA
415 749-2060



Unknown said...

I am so jealous...again. Will you and Charlie adopt me?

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