Gary Danko Restaurant, San Francisco
Posted by Foodnut.com
800 North Point Street (At Hyde)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Restaurant Gary Danko is one of the top restaurants in San Francisco, they serve contemporary American cuisine. Open in 1999 and located near Ghiradelli Square, it has been at the top of the Zagat Guide and Yelp for the last couple years. “Danko combines classical training with focuses on French, Mediterranean, and regional American cooking. He incorporates influential culinary traditions from around the world into his own work, adding seasonings and techniques drawn from Asia and India.”
Decor, Vibe – Stylish, elegant decor with lots of marble, wood, and beautiful flower arrangements. Upstairs private dining room. The bathroom has a zen spa like feel. Mostly well dressed older folks from the 40′s to 60′s where dining at Gary Danko. One time, we did not have a reservation so we dined at the 11 seat bar. (We do not recommend this)
Gary Danko Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)
At Gary Danko, you can order a la carte from the menu, or select 3, 4, or 5 courses at a $68, $85, and $102, respectively. You can order 5 meat dishes if you so desire! They do scale portion size down when you get more courses. A $98 tasting menu, and vegetarian menu are also available. Appetizers are available in entree sized portions. Menu changes seasonally.
Amuse Bouche of Seared Ahi Tuna on a crisp was a nice complimentary bite sized starter with very fresh fish. Vegetarian amuse bouche was a vegetable sushi.
Mojito ($11) was top notch. Not too sweet but not too strong. Lots of fresh mint.
Risotto with Lobster, Rock Shrimp, Asparagus, Morel Mushrooms and Stinging Nettles ($20/$38) was very good but a touch on the salty side. The lobster and shrimp were in limited quantity but high on the quality side. This is a signature dish.
Seared Sonoma Foie Gras with Caramelized Red Onions and Rhubarb ($20/$39) was excellent and a pretty good sized Sonoma product. Another signature dish. The restrained sweetness of the rhubarb contrasted nicely with the hearty foie gras. The carmelized onions also helped mitigate the need for starch to balance this dish out. On one occasion, we felt the onions were a bit strong. Portion size with a 5 course meal is a lot smaller. Alexander’s also serves a Foie Gras to this level of performance.
Soft Shell Crab with White Polenta, Pancetta, Tomatoes, Corn and Basil ($20/$36) was outstanding and to die for. The crab was not heavily battered, the polenta had subtle flavors without being buttered up.
Lobster Salad with Avocado, Citrus, Shaved Fennel with Meyer Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette was a nice light salad after the hearty foie. The sour cream based dressing had a bit too much sourness to it. Tasty lobster and very fresh greens and avacado. Little chunks of salts provided a nice touch.
Roast Maine Lobster with Potato Purée, Shitake Mushrooms, Corn and Tarragon ($21/$39) had very fresh lobster that was steamed for 5 minutes, the shell cleaned, then the dish was roasted in the oven. Well done and one of the best lobsters around. Quantities were not on the high side for this dish.
Seared Sea Scallops with Butternut Squash Purée, Roasted Apples, Shallots and Red Peppers had one large scallop with a thin caramelized crust that could have been more resilient. The puree went well to accent the scallop. Another diner got a scallop far smaller than the others.
Horseradish Crusted Salmon Medallion with Dilled Cucumbers and Mustard Sauce ($19/$36) was interesting but very good. The Salmon medallion was molded round then had horseradish put on top and a crust applied. It was then pan seared, but did not achieve a level of crispiness that would have made it better. In any case, the very fresh fish was cooked perfectly.
Lemon Pepper Duck Breast with Duck Hash, Celery Root-Garlic Purée and Cardamom Poached Pears was a very hearty entree of significant size. Cooked to a perfect medium rare and tender level, it could have used more pears to contrast the heartiness.
Baked Chocolate Soufflé with Two Sauces ($16) Chocolate and Gran Marnier was a decadent dessert. A must! Perfect souffle and 2 sauces that were not too sweet to drown out the quality of the baking. Perfect texture and lots of air to make your waist line feel better.
Seasonal Sorbet Sampler with Cookies had a smooth coconut, sweet and strong passion fruit, and raspberry. All clearly home made and a nice way to round out a filling meal.
Petit Fours were excellent home made chocolates, fruit squares, candied nuts.
The excellent Gary Danko Poundcake to go was a nice touch for breakfast the next morning. In 2010 we received a pumpkin cheesecake.
Extensive Cheese Cart with local, domestic, and international cheeses. We sampled several cheese and found them excellent.
Mushroom Dusted Sea Scallops with English Pea Purée, Shimeji Mushrooms and Meyer Lemon ($21/$39) were 2 reasonably sized scallops. One still had some ‘crunchy’ residue and clearly was not cleaned well. Both did not have much crispy caramelized crust. The crust was more a visible decoration.
We have eaten at Gary Danko several times before, and service has always been top notch. There are so many waiters and helpers running around, you have to wonder how they why they don’t collide. Service at the bar and in the private room was excellent. The waiter (There was a separate bartender) was knowledgeable and very friendly. He knew the menu inside and out. Even for large parties, they bring all the food out and serve everyone at the same time.
Gary Danko remains the top restaurant in San Francisco, with excellent food and some of the best service around. You have to venture outside San Francisco to find places like Cyrus or French Laundry or Las Vegas to top Gary Danko, or hit the best in Paris. If you are a foodie on a limited budget, consider Chapeau! You will be surprised at the level of food and prices there.
Gary Danko has a very extensive wine selection spanning 15 countries and vintages spanning 3 centuries with high markup. Glasses from $18, Bottles from $35, Half bottles from $29, Corkage $35, Wine pairings available.
Filed under: $$$$, 3 stars, American Restaurant, California, Dine Again?, Go Again, Restaurant Cost, Restaurant Cuisine, Restaurant Location, Restaurant Rating, Restaurant Review, San Francisco Restaurants, United States | Tags: Dinner, Fisherman's Wharf, Foodie Must, Gary Danko, Michelin Guide, Two Michelin Stars
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