Thursday, January 15, 2015

Going Old School at Gary Danko

Glass of champagne to start
On the humans first trip to San Francisco in 2009, they had dined at Gary Danko. At the time, none of us were foodies, and it would be years before I would start my blog, Mr. Moo’s Adventures. However, they were looking for a nice restaurant to have dinner at, at the concierge at The Argonaut Hotel where they were staying arranged a reservation for them to dine there. Since they hadn’t been to Gary Danko in almost 6 years, they wanted to try it out again to see if it was as good as they remembered, or if it was because they hadn’t done a lot of fine dining previously.

Risotto with Seafood
The space itself had undergone a renovation, and was significantly dimmer than they remembered it being - hence the really terrible pictures, apologies! However, the format of the menu was still the same, allowing you to choose either a Tasting Menu, or choose between three to five courses, a combination of any dishes available. Having remembered the dishes were quite large on their last visit (eg. a trio of creme brûlée turned out to be three normal sized creme brûlées, not three sample sized ones), they opted to only go with three courses.

Seared Scallops
I started the meal off with a glass of J. LaSalle MV champagne as they brought out a chilled gazpacho amuse bouche which was velvety smooth, creamy and had a little heat to it. The risotto with gulf shrimp, lobster, shimeji mushrooms and roasted butternut squash was rich, perfectly seasoned so the flavour of the earthy mushrooms and delicate seafood were not overwhelmed, and the portion of seafood provided was generous. Meanwhile the seared ahi tuna with avocado, nori, enoki mushrooms and lemon soy dressing had a light drizzle of acidity on it, and cooked only a touch so it melted in my mouth without chewing. The avocado added a rich mouthfeel.

Chocolate Souffle
The seared sea scallops with zucchini basil puree, beech mushrooms, melted leeks and sauce marechal was incredibly fragrant, as I could smell it before they set it down in front of me. Unable to control myself, I devoured the plate of buttery, plump, lightly seared scallops and had to resist the urge to lick the sauce off of the plate. The pan seared bass with arugula pesto, herbed gnocchi, tomato confit, preserved meyer lemon and pine nuts was the only downside to the meal, although it was cooked so it flaked apart at the lightest touch, it needed more seasoning as it was practically bland. Thankfully the gnocchi served with it felt as light as a feather.
Lemon Souffle Cake

Before dinner, I opted to try a glass of the 1982 Barbeito Frasqueira Boal Madira, which was sweet and mouth coatingly thick, a perfect drink to pair with their chocolate soufflé. The baked chocolate soufflé with two sauces was put down, then a small hole cut into the top by the server in order to pour in vanilla creme anglaise and Callebaut dark chocolate sauce. Despite the addition of these super luxurious sauces, the soufflé itself was chocolatey without being overly sweet, and light as air. Lastly, they presented us with a lemon soufflé cake which tasted like lemons without being tart, and again was as light as the word soufflé conjures it to be in ones’ mind. The female human was also given a small pineapple cake, already wrapped, to take home to eat the next day.

Pineapple Cake to go
Overall, although Gary Danko is old school with their dress code, the way their meals are presented, and the portion sizes, it is more affordable than other fine dining restaurants in San Francisco, and equally tasty.

Gary Danko
800 N Point St
San Francisco, CA  94109

Gary Danko on Urbanspoon

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