Gary Danko: Ahi Tuna
Seared Ahi Tuna with Avocado, Nori, Enoki Mushrooms and Lemon Soy Dressing
The lemon soy vinaigrette was an interesting combination of acid and salt. It was strong, but not objectionably. The tuna was of course a great ingredient and very well prepared. This is a nice dish and worth having again.
Gary Danko: Glazed Oysters
Glazed Oysters with Osetra Caviar, Salsify and Lettuce Cream
I’ve had this a couple of times and always enjoyed it. The oysters are raw and fresh and the caviar adds a nice bit of saltiness. Normally I like oysters straight up and raw, but this preparation works very well.
What’s To Eat: Smokey Roasted Tomatoes, Poached Egg, Pulled Pork on Brown Rice
Smokey Roasted Tomatoes, Poached Egg, Pulled Mangalitsa Pork on Brown Rice
Gary Danko: Crispy Farm Egg with Grits
Crispy Farm Egg with Grits, Royal Trumpet Mushrooms, Frisee and Pancetta
The egg was perfectly poached and the grits were an excellent rendition. I wasn’t sure what the egg had on the outside. It all felt a slight bit heavy for an appetizer, but then what do you expect with grits? I wonder how this would have been with just a straight uncoated poached egg?
Gary Danko: French Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches
French Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches with Three Sauces (Banana, Pistachio, Chocolate
This was a really nice dessert: nice macaroons, nice ice cream, nice sauce. The only objection I had was that it was hard to pop them into your mouth and I was too afraid that if I took a bite, it would all spill all over the place. Nevertheless, I’d definitely have this again.
Why All The Gary Danko?
Based on the number of recent posts I’ve made about Gary Danko it’s not to tell that it’s one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. They really understand how to make the entire experience exceptional.
- The food is great. Pretty much every dish is a winner and it’s a rare instance when I’m not wowed. The ingredients, preparations, and creativity are all outstanding.
- The service is great. I’m never able to plan far enough in advance to get a dining room reservation so I always sit at the bar. Whether for one course or a full meal, dining at the bar is common so the entire staff from front to back of the house handle diners as smoothly as patrons who are just having a drink before they’re seated. I’ve dined next to many interesting people at the bar ranging from local neighborhood “regulars” to young couples from Seattle on a road trip through the US who want to experience Danko.
- They indulge me in whatever quirky requests I throw at them. If I walk in and ask to start with a Strawberry Souffle, or order 3 desserts, they don’t flinch. If I don’t know what, or how many savory dishes I want that evening, they’re perfectly content to let me order piecemeal (this can really screw up a kitchen big time at some restaurants). They roll with whatever I throw at them and they won’t act like I’m an alien in the process. They understand and indulge me in my passion for fine dining.
- Their sommeliers know the list and give good advice. Danko’s bottle, half-bottle, and by-the-glass lists are exceptional. The Burgundy section is my favorite (I know that’s blasphemous in a California restaurant) and I’ve never been disappointed with the advice and selections I’ve received.
There are other restaurants in the Bay Area that I love (Chez Panisse, Benu, etc.) but I keep getting drawn back to Danko. That’s why it’s been a month of Danko postings.
It’s The Food Interviews Matt Molloy
ItF: Matt, what’s your background?
MM: I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. My Parents and grandparents were the first culinary influences on me even though I was sometimes a picky eater. Cooking became more important to me when I started cooking for my siblings.
I went to the University of Missouri-Columbia to study business administration, but I figured out that I didn’t want to work in an office. Instead I began to work in various restaurants on the side and then changed my major to hotel & restaurant management.
After college, I moved back to St. Louis and began working in some of the better restaurants while simultaneously going to a local culinary school. I eventually got a job as a sous chef at a prestigious country club where I got to work with fine ingredients. That gave me a chance to stage at one of the best restaurants in the country, Le Bernardin in New York City.
Gary Danko: Dungeness Crab Salad
Dungeness Crab Salad with Avocado Mousse, Hearts of Palm and Madras Curry Vinaigrette
Not mentioned in the menu description were the cubes of mango. This was an ok dish. I think if I had led off with it, I would have thought it was better, but it was overshadowed by the previous three exceptional dishes. The Dungeness Crab just didn’t stand out the way it did on the risotto.
Gary Danko: Risotto with Dungeness Crab
Risotto with Dungeness Crab, Gulf Shrimp, Shimeji Mushrooms and Butternut Squash
Every chef has their own slant on risotto. This one was rich had more emphasis on butter than parmesan. The crab meat was excellent. Definitely worthy of having again.