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1st Visit to Gary Danko (got tips?)

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I've been to Mina's a couple of times and when I do, everyone tells me "Next time, you gotta go to Danko's"... So, I'm going. Has anyone been lately (Spring Menu)? If so, what would you recommend? Any general tips? As it stands, I'll probably do 4 courses.

Thanks ~

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  1. Reports from February.

    1. Get the foie gras -- numerous reports that it's one of the best foie gras preps around.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I definitely recommend the foie gras. It's a must get whenever I eat there.

      2. Cheese plate.

        1. The seared foie gras is, as others have noted, always good. Many like the risotto, though I've found it too large for the starter that it is. I do like the glazed oysters a lot. Soups are generally very nice too. On the seafood course, the roast lobster is lovely (and I'm not a big lobster fan). I would avoid the horseradish crusted salmon. I've always found it disappointing. The cheese cart is excellent. If you're saying four courses because you plan to skip the cheese, please reconsider!

          One important thing to note--you can mix it up. No need to do an app, a seafood, a meat, cheese, and dessert. I swing savory, so I usually end with cheese and have two from apps or seafood. And if you love seafood, or you're crazy for foie gras, you can choose from any part of the menu as your main course. The foie gras, when ordered as a main, can be terrifyingly generous. It's possible to go to Danko and have 5 courses of seafood, or 5 courses from the app list...whatever turns you on.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lexdevil

            Thanks. I had heard about the ability to "mix it up" with the menu - I think that's one of the things that got me to finally make a ressy. And I have been known to eat more foie than is probably good for me and it's nice to hear that they do it right.

            I tend to be underwhelmed with desserts, generally, so cheese is a good suggestion, especially if it's as good as you are all saying....

            Thanks ~

            1. re: lexdevil

              "I swing savory" - LOVE that phrase! (So do I.)

            2. Of the meats, I recommend the beef and the stuffed quail. Skip the squab, which was kind of flavorless and came with some mushy couscous.

              If you get a dessert, the Louisiana Butter Cake is incredible. I've never had anything like it: it's like a cross between a croissant, a chewy cookie and a muffin. I'm not an ice cream fan, but combining a bite with the berry compote and vanilla ice cream put it on an even higher level. It's so delicious that I asked for the recipe (to no avail). I would go back for that dessert alone. However I like dense, rustic baked things and those who prefer light, less sweet desserts might not be so fond of it.

              1. Definitely try to fois gras. I'm not one for trying new foods (hence I would never say I'm a foodie), but I did try this, and I really liked it. I just made sure my dinner companions were philosophically okay with it. :-) Their trio of creme brulee is regular size ones... yes, three regular size ones.

                The portions were larger than I was expecting, so that's always a great thing. And of course, allow for several hours, which I'm sure you already know. I'm planning to go back again for my birthday this year. Can't wait. It makes getting older just a little better than it really is.

                1. I put up a long review in February - the Foie was decent but One Market's seared prep and the terrine at French Laundry and Aqua were better.

                  If I were returning, I'd go with the risotto (last time Risotto with Lobster, Rock Shrimp, Butternut Squash and Porcini Mushrooms) and any of the scallop preps.

                  For dessert - that souffle is amongst the 2-3 best I've ever tasted anywhere.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: uhockey

                    Your review linked in first post above.

                    1. re: uhockey

                      I did like the foie at One Market, TFL, and Aqua.... At least it's good to know that's about the league it's playing in. I imagine it will make it's way on to my plate....

                      It sounds like I may need to go twice (at least) to try all these high notes.

                      1. re: uhockey

                        U - or anyone else who's been

                        Does GD offer wines by the glass or just by the bottle/half bottle?

                        1. re: mofo313

                          I don't drink, but they did indeed have by-glass options.

                          1. re: uhockey

                            Great, thank you!

                      2. BTW, I'm not sure why people always mention Danko and Mina in the same breath. They strike me as being very different restaurants. And to be honest, neither place blows me away.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: a_and_w

                          Which places, pray tell, do blow you away (as I hijack my own thread)?

                          1. re: pseudokiwi

                            French Laundry is about the only high-end Michelin-starred place I've tried in Northern California that really blew me away. I think the strength of San Francisco is Bib Gourmand type places like Delfina, Bar Tartine, A16, Clementine, etc.. Of course, that's my preference -- I tend to find very high-end places a little stuffy and pretentious.

                            1. re: a_and_w

                              Just to follow up on this rec of Bar Tartine, I was a little disappointed on my most recent meal. The place was much louder and darker than I remembered, and the food was not as good. The steak was ordered medium rare but came very rare. Goat was totally uninspired -- I've had much better at Mexican places. The duck was solid but came with some kind of pasta with an overpowering lemon flavor.

                              1. re: a_and_w


                                Bar Tartine
                                561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                          2. re: a_and_w

                            I agree with you, i wasn't impressed with them either.

                          3. We went to GD for the first time last night. I thought it was outstanding. The service was fantastic, the food was wonderful and the overall experience was one I'll remember for a long time.

                            Don't have time for a full review but the lamb entree, scallops, lobster entree and the strawberry rhubarb tart were all amazing. The cheese cart was very strong as well.

                            For a special occasion, I don't think you could go wrong here.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: mofo313

                              What is the dress code there? (what were the women & men wearing?) I don't want to be under or overdressed. We have reservations in June & have never been. We are visiting from NY. Thanks

                              1. re: synergy

                                I was there last night and I couldn't believe there were people at the bar wearing shorts. I guess anything goes these days. I'd say most men were wearing a nice dress shirts and women were wearing mostly dresses/skirts, from what I could tell.

                                1. re: Mari

                                  I wore a jacket and tie but the range was from golf shirts and jeans to full suits on the men. Women were primarily in skirts/dresses. I don't think you'd need a jacket but definitely a nice dress shirt to feel in the mix.

                                  1. re: mofo313

                                    I wore a suit, many there were also in suits, but the dress code does not require them. I consider the "code" to be more the upscale casual popularized in LA these days - jeans and a blazer work, though not quite as well as a nice suit.

                                    1. re: uhockey

                                      Would I feel uncomfortable wearing nice black pants, a lacy black top & heels? (I'm a female :-) )...or would a skirt/dress be more appropriate?

                                      1. re: synergy

                                        You can never go wrong with black pants and top in any restaurant in SF! It is a very relaxed city. :)

                                        1. re: alina555

                                          Great, that's what I'll plan. :-) A few years ago I wore all black in Madrid and they all looked at me like I was crazy...no one else wore black in Spain...but red was everywhere!

                                          And lexdevil, you can be sure I will enjoy & eat every morsel.

                                          I got offended...we were dining at Bouley in NYC & enjoying a tasting menu. The french waiter actually made a snide remark how I ate everything on each plate. Sheesh, isn't that what you are supposed to do? I didn't say anything but didn't like that he said that. Some chefs would take that as a compliment...

                                        2. re: synergy

                                          Not unless the pants are too tight.

                                          1. re: lexdevil

                                            Yeah, nice black pants with a dressy top can be worn pretty much anywhere -- I can't think of anywhere other than a formal ball where skirts/dresses are absolutely mandatory.

                                            To put it another way: San Francisco is much more casual than NY. Anything you'd wear it out to dinner in NY you can wear out to dinner anywhere in SF.

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              Totally agree with this -- well said.

                              2. Thanks for the tips, everyone. I went last night and had a wonderful time! Foie was excellent (as advertised), but I think the scallops were the winner for the evening.

                                Service and food was spot on from the cocktails to the coffee and I will certainly be planning a return engagement!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: pseudokiwi

                                  Boulevard is sneaky-good with their fish. Glad you had a good meal.

                                2. Ok, thanks everyone...we went to GD for the 1st time this past Friday night. We had 7:30pm reservations and were seated immediately. The place was packed. GD's was fantastic. Our experience there, from the wait service, friendliness, attentiveness to the food, was tops. I love how they are flexible with their menu & can order each course from whatever part of the menu you wish. We did 4 courses: 2 appetizers, 1 entree, 1 dessert. I was going to only do 3 courses & share my husband's dessert, but it was so unique that I wanted my own...I'm glad I didn't have to share :-) . I had the Lobster Salad with Asparagus, Hearts of Palm, Mango and Lemon-Curry Vinaigrette -very good. Husband had the Seared Sonoma Foie Gras with Caramelized Red Onions and Rhubarb, which he said was also 'thumbs up". We both then had the Risotto with Lobster, Rock Shrimp, Asparagus, Morel Mushrooms and Stinging Nettles, and we both could have licked the bowl clean. I'd go back for more & more& more if I could. I then had the Horseradish Crusted Salmon Medallion with Dilled Cucumbers and Mustard Sauce, again excellent. Husband had the Seared Filet of Beef with Braised Celery, Potatoes, Bacon, Leeks and Bordelaise Crust - a keeper. The dessert that I was fascinated and decided to order, not share was the French Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Three Sauces. We both ordered it and boy, oh boy, was I glad, as I could have eaten a dozen. They were fantastic. It was our anniversary, and they brought out another dessert with a candle, and a petit fort plate. We rolled out of there with smiles on our face and the little gift dessert that they gave to everyone. We opened it the next evening & fought over the crumbs after we shared the banana cake. EXCELLENT, & top notch meal and experience. I had high expectations and they surpassed them.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: synergy

                                    Thanks for reporting back

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