Monday, March 7, 2011

Gary Danko- San Francisco

Where do I begin? I don't think I've ever come across a restaurant on Yelp with more reviews than this place right here (over 2,400 entries!!). Not even the super touristy eateries rack up this many reviews. And the most insane part? Gary Danko maintains a stellar 4.5 stars, not an easy feat! The space inside is relatively small and the windows are tinted super dark so you can't see the outside. I guess this aids in creating that dim, romantic ambiance despite the time of day but I much prefer bright, open spaces with ample amounts of light or at least a place with windows and a nice view. Besides, places with no windows (or super dark windows in this case) remind me too much of casinos. You never know what time it is.

I'll get to the food in a second but what absolutely wowed me about the establishment was hands down, the service and staff. Never have I ever (...sounds like I'm playing a drinking game) had such an impeccable dinner service. Their top-notch staff was knowledgeable and polite beyond belief. They were gracious and attentive but not overbearing or annoying. My glass of water was always filled and the waiters came around to clean off any crumbs on the table after each course. I seriously cannot say enough great things about the service.

So I started off with the dungeness crab salad (too bad I don't have a picture). The crab meat was served cold, which is unfortunately, not to my liking. But even so, I appreciated the large, luscious pieces of fresh crab claw. The crab was served over a bed of couscous and there was a bit of acidity from the yuzu (a type of citrus fruit), which refreshingly countered the sweetness of the crab meat.

Roasted Pork Belly and Tenderloin
For my second course, I selected the pork. To my dismay, I cannot say that this is the best pork belly I've had thus far (the best yet is credited to the wild boar belly at Perilla in NY). Food is as much about taste as it is about temperature. Therefore, I wished that the pork belly was served hotter and crispier since it was only warm. Pork belly cooked well has a nice sear on the outside creating that crispy outer skin while sealing in the juices from the fat. Unfortunately, the pork belly here felt a bit dry and the outside lacked that crunch that I was looking for. But not to fear, the tenderloin redeems the dish with its moisture and all-around tenderness.

Creme Fraiche Cheesecake
Finishing off the meal, I went ahead and ordered this super dense and moist cheesecake. The texture was very smooth and velvety. The pecans were candied and toasted to absolute perfection (I could easily snack on a whole plate of them). The sorbet was a balanced, sour counterpoint to the rest of the creaminess and richness on the plate. The delicate lace tuile atop the cheesecake was also very good and delightfully crispy.

Petit Fours
So I thought I was done my meal until they brought over this complimentary sampler of mini desserts. But seeing that I was already stuffed beyond capacity, we had these petite desserts packed. I tried them the next day and the little lemon pomegranate tart was by far the favorite. It was the perfect bite of sweet and sour.

In addition, they gifted another parting dessert, which was a delicious carrot cake and if I remember correctly, even when I ate it the next morning, it was still extremely moist and pillow soft.


  1. WOW great review! It looks like we have very similar taste because I want to gobble up (like a turkey)everything you ordered! Did you like Perilla? I been there once with some chick... food was okay but she was banging. Keep up the good work.

    -sign Jumbalaya Jumba-Juice Jay

  2. I love that you're a gal who is not afraid to eat AND have dessert too!