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Feb 11, 2008 12:39 PM

Three great dinners in SF (Danko, Jai Yun, In-n-Out)

Jai Yun: Thanks to the chowhounders for the recommendation. Jay Yun was a hit with our entire party of 8, none of who had been there. We stopped at the Ferry Building Wine Merchant before dinner. They recommend a few excellent Rieslings, as well as a few reds which went excellently with all of the food which was served. Jai Yun charged us $6/pp corkage per person, but gladly brought each person four glasses as suggested. For $80pp we left stuffed. We definitely did not experience the small portions spoken of elsewhere on this site. Everything was really wonderful, but there were too many dishes to comment on each one, and I probably had too much wine even if I wanted to. Some general highlights were the smoked fish, both tofu dishes, abalone, lotus root and smoked duck. Jai Yun was a fun and unique experience. My mouth does not water remembering the food, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for a unique experience in Chinatown (particularly an out of towner like me).

Gary Danko: My mouth definitely IS watering recalling the food at Gary Danko. After some particularly stressful business meetings, I went walkabout from my hotel. After a few miles, I happened to stumble by Gary Danko. I had only been there once before, and after a horrible day I more than deserved it. The bar was wide open, and the service could not have been better. I went for the three course selection. First was the ahi, which was beautifully prepared with enoki mushrooms. The light dressing really complemented all of the flavors. Next up was the risotto with lobster, shrimp and sage oil. This was some of the creamiest most delicious risotto I have ever tasted. It was perfectly balanced, and I could have kept on eating that dish alone. For my entrée I went with the quail stuffed with mushrooms and foie. I know that this is one of their classic dishes, and it did not disappoint. I have been on a mushroom kick lately, but the flavor in this dish really stood out. A few glasses of the Izadi Rioja washed the meal down nicely. I did not have room for desert; however they brought out a plate of chocolates and mini pastries all of which were delicious. All in all, I would say this meal was a bargain for what I got, and I will be back soon.

In-n-Out: I walked by In-n-Out on the way from Gary Danko. The thought stuck with me, and I had to go there the next night. I got my usual: double double animal style with fries well done. It was a real treat. Coming from the east coast, I need my In-n-Out whenever I can get it.

We’ll, off to the gym until my next trip…

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  1. Adding links:

    Jai Yun
    680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Gary Danko
    800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    1. one more...

      In-N-Out Burger
      333 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

      1. I was really impressed with my recent meal at Gary Danko. The only downers were the bread, which wasn't warm, and the fresh crab, which still had some tiny bits of shell. It also annoys me the way the staff takes every opportunity to say his full name, "Gary Danko." Still, this was one of the better meals (crab soup, squab, and cheese plate) I've had in some time.

        11 Replies
        1. re: a_and_w

          Warm bread is an American thing, and Gary Danko has a pretty strong French influence.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Good point -- Gary Danko is very french. I'd never noticed that warm bread isn't a french thing, but after thinking about it, many of the places I criticize for not warming their bread are indeed french.

            1. re: a_and_w

              Most of the Cal-whatever places don't do it either. If a dish demands warm bread, they make toast, often on the grill.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Good to know, though I could swear I've had warm bread at Oliveto and Delfina both...

                1. re: a_and_w

                  Oliveto serves room-temperature Acme, like most of my other favorite restaurants.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I stand corrected -- sorry for the misinformation.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Oliveto did a half bake program for a while, and did in fact serve warm freshly finished Acme bread. No more?

              2. re: Robert Lauriston


                While I have no pretensions about being a Paris expert based on a half-dozen trips, I have been served warm bread in Paris. Also, I have had excellent and not bland bread in Paris.

                That being said, as you said I can't think of a restaurant in the class of Gary Danko ... or even the next level that serves hot bread.

                That is more the thing of restaurants that microwave bread ... shudder. Yeah, a few restaurants here and there will bake to order, but it isn't usual.

                It is more important to me that it is fresh and tasty.

                I edited this a bit because it sounded cranky which it isn't meant to be but do you really think it is a Danko French influence or rather just the norm for a top restaurant in whateve country. The warm bread thing to me is more of a gimmick and rarely done well. Yep, I enjoy warm bread but the usual drill is that it turns to rock soon after the trip to the microwave ... or it tastes like something you buy in the freezer case.

                1. re: rworange

                  Michael Mina is one high end place I know serves warm bread. And further research confirms that the french don't like warm bread.


                  1. re: rworange

                    I think it's the norm in the Bay Area because the top restaurants serve top-quality, expensive bread like Acme and it's best appreciated at room temperature.

                    There's a huge difference between a loaf of Acme levain and a loaf of Boudin sourdough at room temperature; not so much if they're hot.

              3. The original comment has been removed
                1. I am probably wrong but I suspect Gabatta's yearning for an In n Out has little to do with the quality of the burger but to the memories of the burger. How else can you explain White Castles in your neighbor supermarket case at 70 cents apiece.
                  Is the meat still less than 1 ounce? That represents 1/2 the weight of the sandwich the rest being the bun, the dehydrated onions and the water to boil them in. God I love them.

                2. Sounds interesting. Just checking... did you go to Gary Danko's alone and without a reservation?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: singleguychef

                    Yes and yes. Walked in off the street at about 7:30 on a Thursday. The bar was more than half empty, however the dining room looked full.