Gary Danko: Guinea Hen
Guinea Hen Breast (half portion)
You may be thinking that this is the “chicken” dish on the menu? Nope, this is the real deal and definitely worth having again. I started with the breast on the right side - moist of course with what you’d expect from a top-drawer product. Then the left side was (I think) thigh, and as you’d expect, even better since it’s the dark meat. The Meyer lemon and the Hen Of The Woods mushrooms work really well (chicken and lemon usually do of course).
Gary Danko: Moroccan Spiced Squab
Moroccan Spiced Squab with Raisins, Almonds, Chermoula and Orange-Cumin Carrots
The game meat was beautifully rare. The sauce was dominated by the sweetness of the raisins and transformed this is into a very unique dish. This is definitely worth having again.
Gary Danko: Juniper Crusted Bison
Juniper Crusted Bison with King Trumpet Mushrooms, Cipollini Onions and Wild Nettle Spatzle
I had this on my visit with A. This is a solid dish. The bison is of course not as tender as say lamb or fillet mignon, but still a hearty, flavorful meat. The wild nettle spatzle was creative and worked well.
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.