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Recent Gary Danko Recommendations?

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Anyone been to Gary Danko recently? Any dishes you care to recommend? I'm going back in 3 weeks; the menu doesn't change much (the only negative IMHO) and I'm wondering what dishes people especially like there.

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  1. While the cheese course had an impressive array of options, it was paired with just a few grapes and sliced, toasted bread -- not terribly innovative.

    But I very much enjoyed the striped bass with deconstructed ratatouille, as well as the lamb.

    1. I believe that Danko's inability to update his menu is a HUGE negative and has kept me from returning. The quail (which I enjoyed immensely five years ago) is the *exact* same quail I enjoyed six months ago.

      Way too many innovative and exceptional restaurants in this city which are far less crowded to continue returning.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Carrie 218

        So you had a great quail dish five years apart and that was a problem? I think with Gary Danko its not a place you are running back to every weekend so if once a year or two you have the same menu it shouldn't be a problem.

        One thing I have found with restaurants especially in the bay area. If the menu is changed often then I find the food can be inconsistent. Some dishes are hits, others are misses and it makes it so that one person can have a good meal and another a horrible meal depending on how you order. A restaurant that doesn't change the menu as much tends to be more consistent. The down side is what you are complaining about. I don't have a problem with it at a place like Gary Danko because if I have the same meal a year apart and its "immensely" enjoyable then I am happy.

        1. re: Scott M

          My problem is that there has been no development whatsoever in the menu. No, I don't run back every week but when guests are in town and they want to go, once every six months over five years and the menu become very dated, staid, and boring. A lot has happened culinarily in the past five years and Danko has not been keeping up which to me, shows he is not paying attention to growths and development in his own industry.

          1. re: Carrie 218

            There may be new fads that come an go in the culinary world but as Hung from Top Chef would say "Everything we do today has been done. Every flavor's been done."

            Unless of course you are talking about an innovative cooking technique/presentation like Wylie Dufresne and WD-50.

            1. re: Carrie 218

              Gary told me a couple of years ago that there are dishes that he cannot remove from the menu because when folks come for a special occasion, they are disappointed if they cannot enjoy the classic dishes on which the restaurant's reputation was built. Folks would riot if Zuni dropped its burger or roast chicken. I guess they'd be similarly bent out of shape if they couldn't have Danko's seared foie gras or roast lobster. That said, many items come and go. I've had black bass and Hawaiian moi at Gary Danko, neither of which are on the current menu. The old foie gras terrine with lemon chutney appears to be gone. One of my faves a couple of years back, a crispy tongue and sweetbreads over pureed carrots, only lasted a few months (I came back to have it again the week before the menu was set to change). Even the dishes that stay experience change, as chantrelles replace black mushrooms with the roast lobster, or melon replaces citrus with the lobster salad.

              I'm not sure what has happened on the culinary scene in the past half decade that you think Danko needs to catch up with. I love the Fat Duck, but I don't think Danko is making a mistake not to "cook" tableside with liquid nitrogen. I don't have a problem with his not doing a 17 course tasting menu or offering every main ingredient three ways. As to the "artisanally produced local ingredients" development, Danko's on it, he just hasn't turned his menu into a list of farm names. He even grows some of his own, but he doesn't crow about it.

          2. re: Carrie 218

            Other restaurants far less crowded? Gary Danko's doing what they should be doing.

            A gold mine, eh. And reliable fare - to innovate is to risk, something less successful restaurants do to build a great menu and attract attention they don't yet have. Good things come of that....

          3. Have the pumpkin soup with rabbit terrine!

            1. So is this the toughest restaurant to get into locally besides TFL? Parents visiting during Christmas offered to watch the kids so I called a few days ago for end of December...9:30, 10:00 or nada. The 9:30 was a thursday:-(

              4 Replies
              1. re: ceekskat

                Nah, not the only one... try and get into Quince and you'll encounter the same problem! Probably true with Cyrus and possibly Manresa as well.

                1. re: ceekskat

                  Ask to get on the waiting list. I know many people who have had very good luck gettingt into Gary Danko from the waiting list -- I'm not sure if they hold reservations, or if they just get a lot of cancellations, but it's worked just about every time a family member or a friend has tried.

                  1. re: JasmineG

                    Good to know, right now I have reservations at Manresa. Thanks.

                    1. re: ceekskat

                      Ceekskat, I think you'll be a LOT happier at Manresa - good choice!

                2. FWIW, today's Tablehopper Newsletter reported that Gary Danko will be opening a second, more casual restaurant in Ghirardelli Square. This might partly explain why he hasn't felt pressured to change the menu at GD

                  http://www.tablehopper.com/2007/11/ch...

                  1. No doubt the OP has already come and gone, but I'll offer my opinions from the current menu:

                    Appetizer: Seared Foie Gras. Absolutely sublime. Defines "rich" but retains balance. If he took this off the menu there would be riots.

                    Fish: Herb Crusted Ahi. Advised by the waitstaff since I had already chosen the venison, and correctly so. Very fresh and green and French-tasting, not Japanese at all as you'd expect from the ingredients. Smooth and subtle. If you order it anything but raw/seared you are a Philistine. Contrasts perfectly with...

                    Meat: Juniper Crusted Venison. This is full of hearty winter ingredients and flavors: smoky (chestnut spaetzle), gamy (rare venison), fruity (cranberry-based sauce), and just a hint of peppery. Symphonic, wonderful, and strongly flavored -- a fitting main course. Warning: not for the timid. Those afraid of big flavors should get something like the lobster.

                    Cheese: It's the cheese cart. You already know whether you want it or not. We did.

                    Desserts: Five Preparations of Apple. A wonderful little game with four shot glasses full of different apple desserts, hot and cold, and a little apple salad. It's like a tasting menu of apple desserts, all delicious.

                    Do you get the idea I enjoyed all of the dishes? You're right, I regret nothing. A less decadent person would have started with a salad, but missing the foie gras would be criminal, and I can make my own damn salads.