For our anniversary, my husband and I decided to spend a week in California. Our journey began in LA and worked our way north, ending up in San Francisco. Although we explored much of the Bay area, the short stay in San Francisco was the most memorable for me.
Fresh fruits from the farmers market, gourmet food trucks that were second to none, of course the Fisherman’s Warf, and to top this, my husband surprised me with a late dinner at Gary Danko restaurant.
Gary Denko’s specializes in Californian cuisine. The ambiance was great, with warm lighting making the room feel cozy. For the amount of people the restaurant, and how closely they seated everyone, our dinner for 2 was still intimate.
The greatest thing about Gary Danko is the option to create your own tasting menu. Basically, you can choose between a 3 or 5 course tasting menu. What makes this unique is chef Danko allows you to pick any dish, from any course, for any of your 3 or 5 selections. For example, a typical 3 course tasting menu would consist of 1 appetizer or starter, 1 entree, and 1 desert. At Gary Danko, if you wanted 3 courses from the entree menu, done. Rather have 3 courses of appetizers or desserts? No problem! You get the picture.
Here are a couple of courses we were able to try.
Lobster Salad with Avocado, citrus, shaved fennel with Meyer Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette. I loved that they served entree sized portions, regardless of the course. Needless to say, a great start to our meal.
Quail Stuffed with Foie Gras, Mushroom and Quinoa, Braised Artichokes, Peas, Prosciutto & Olive Butter. The Quail was roasted to perfection and deboned. While I really enjoyed this dish, I kept feeling the main ingredients may have been better off standing alone.
Herb Crusted Loin of Lamb with Moroccan Lamb Sausage, Hummus, Spiced Eggplant Stew and Mint Yogurt. The lamb was really filling, again full sized portions for every course. I was already starting to fill up. Thankfully my next dish was the foie gras.
Foie Gras and Vanilla Rhubarb was one of better once I have tried. It melted on my tongue and I had absolutely no trouble finishing it. Very well done.
Juniper Crusted Venison with King Trumpet Mushrooms, Glazed Cipollini Onions and Herb Spaetzle. The venison was very well done, not gamey at all.
The presentation of all the dishes looked much better in person. I usually prefer my dishes simple and clean, and the sheer number of ingredients in each dish made them feel a tad crowded. Regardless, still a great overall experience and I will definitely be returning on my next visit.