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Boulevard or Gary danko?

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ejr Mar 12, 2011 12:19 PM

I know it's a bit of a weird question --but for our Monday night in SF, which is the better choice? We've never been to either so we need some help! We'll be in San Francisco for just three nights and were planning on RN73 (late Saturday) and La Ciccia (Sunday) for the others. Thanks!

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La Ciccia
291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

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  1. Civil Bear RE: ejr Mar 12, 2011 12:59 PM

    I would pick Gary Danko in a heartbeat I was looking for a special evening.

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: Civil Bear
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      zin1953 RE: Civil Bear Mar 12, 2011 06:29 PM

      +1 Gary Danko in a heartbeat!

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

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      nocharge RE: ejr Mar 12, 2011 01:02 PM

      Previous thread:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750115

      30 Replies
      1. re: nocharge
        Robert Lauriston RE: nocharge Mar 12, 2011 01:05 PM

        Yeah, exactly the same question, from November.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston
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          ikb RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 12, 2011 06:56 PM

          No not the same thread. More like the same question, with a different answer.

          +1 more for Gary Danko

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

          1. re: ikb
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            nocharge RE: ikb Mar 12, 2011 07:38 PM

            It boggles my mind why anyone would want to go to such a generic high-end restaurant as Gary Danko when visiting San Francisco and ask for restaurant recommendations. You can find a half dozen Danko equivalents in pretty much any major city in the world. Boulevard, for all its faults, is way more San Francisco.

            1. re: nocharge
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              zin1953 RE: nocharge Mar 12, 2011 07:42 PM

              Such as????

              1. re: zin1953
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                nocharge RE: zin1953 Mar 13, 2011 08:20 AM

                A good starting point is to look at the list of other restaurants that have a single Michelin star. There are almost 40 of them in the area covered by the SF guide. Very few are more generic than Gary Danko.

                1. re: nocharge
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                  zin1953 RE: nocharge Mar 13, 2011 09:53 AM

                  Yes, that's VERY specific . . .thank you very much.

                  1. re: zin1953
                    Robert Lauriston RE: zin1953 Mar 13, 2011 11:39 AM

                    Michelin stars aren't a very good way of finding the best food in SF, and nothing against the classic international French style of Gary Danko, but the menus at Acquerello, Ame, Aziza, Boulevard, Coi, Frances, La Folie, Quince, and Spruce are all far more driven by local, seasonal ingredients.

                    Ame, Aziza, Boulevard, La Folie, Quince, and Spruce are all open Mondays.

              2. re: nocharge
                Paul H RE: nocharge Mar 13, 2011 07:12 PM

                I'm always amazed when folks call Gary Danko a non-San-Franciscan generic high-end restaurant that can be found in sextuplet in any big city in the world. Gary Danko takes advantage of the bounty of West Coast ingredients just as every high-end restaurant in the Bay Area does. Look at the menu. Current appetizers use Oysters, Salsify, Lettuce Cream, Osetra Caviar, Beets, Goat Cheese, Navel Oranges, Pecans, Dungeness Crab, Grapefruit, Fennel, Mint and Yuzu, Eggs, Polenta, Trumpet Mushrooms, Frisée, Pancetta, Treviso, Romaine, Anchovies, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Lobster, Asian Pear, Mango, Avocado, Cashews, Limes, Cilantro, Ahi Tuna, Avocado, Nori, Enoki Mushrooms, Rock Shrimp, Shimeji Mushrooms, Butternut Squash, Potatos, Leeks, Salmon, Bacon, Cipollini Onions, and Sage. There are only two ingredients in that long list that I am sure didn't come from California - the lobster, and the caviar. Everything else (okay maybe not the Nori) is undoubtedly local and goes into a menu steeped in the Northern California tradition of fresh local seasonal ingredients. How many people who come to San Francisco as tourists have a restaurant as good as Gary Danko in their home town? It's a small minority. My guess is that most visitors to SF would be delighted with dinner at GD.

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

                Yuzu
                3347 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

                1. re: Paul H
                  wolfe RE: Paul H Mar 13, 2011 07:27 PM

                  Why not local nori?
                  http://www.seaweed.net/Words/productl...

                  1. re: Paul H
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                    vulber RE: Paul H Mar 13, 2011 09:02 PM

                    i think a lot of the criticism is more of the meats and fish - very little is known about their sourcing, other than that they use farmed salmon

                    1. re: Paul H
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                      nocharge RE: Paul H Mar 13, 2011 09:03 PM

                      I don't think anyone is saying that Gary Danko isn't a good restaurant, just that it's not very interesting. And who could blame them? If you are going to cater to Fisherman's Wharf tourists looking for a high-end dining experience complete with caviar service and lobster, you want to be kind of generic. I'm sure that for a lot of tourists, that concept works a lot better than, say, Coi would. If you want to claim that Danko is the perfect high-end tourist trap, I won't argue with that.

                      1. re: nocharge
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                        zin1953 RE: nocharge Mar 13, 2011 10:12 PM

                        Everyone has their own personal tastes, but -- personally -- I would rather go to Gary Danko than Coi any day of the week . . . .

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

                        1. re: zin1953
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                          pauliface RE: zin1953 Mar 13, 2011 10:52 PM

                          I agree with zin.

                          1. re: zin1953
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                            nocharge RE: zin1953 Mar 13, 2011 11:18 PM

                            Exactly. An edgy restaurant like Coi probably has as many detractors as fans. A mainstream, high-end place like Gary Danko is likely to have a much broader appeal by virtue of playing it safe. I mean, what's there not to like? But maybe it's not that interesting.

                            1. re: nocharge
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                              pauliface RE: nocharge Mar 14, 2011 07:41 AM

                              nocharge -- edgy restaurants are my favorites. I just had a bad meal at coi.

                              1. re: pauliface
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                                zin1953 RE: pauliface Mar 14, 2011 12:35 PM

                                Ditto. I love (what I presume "nocharge" means by) "edgy" restaurants, and I had a bad meal at Coi . . .

                                1. re: zin1953
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                                  pauliface RE: zin1953 Mar 14, 2011 03:49 PM

                                  We are in the minority, Zin.
                                  Same with me for Frances.
                                  Everytime someone is coming from out of town and the gang recommends those two, I want to respond with a warning, but it makes me feel like such a wet blanket and people seem to love them so...

                                  1. re: pauliface
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                                    ceekskat RE: pauliface Mar 14, 2011 05:51 PM

                                    I guess you can add DH to the minority. DH just had a private dining experience recently at Coi* & wasn't impressed. He preferred his business dinner last year at Fleur De Lys over this one. Been trying, to no avail, to get reservations at GD.

                                    Given the cost & "edginess" of menu, I thought perhaps this type of restaurant may not be full on a weeknight but he assured me of the contrary! And apparently not a great location either (?).

                                    -----
                                    Fleur De Lys
                                    777 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                                    1. re: pauliface
                                      z
                                      zin1953 RE: pauliface Mar 14, 2011 09:51 PM

                                      Actually, I like Frances . . .

                                      1. re: pauliface
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                                        nocharge RE: pauliface Mar 15, 2011 01:39 AM

                                        I think Coi is probably disappointing more people than most other high-end restaurants because of its relatively unique nature that, clearly, is not going to appeal to everyone. If it had been, say, a sushi place or a steakhouse, people who don't like sushi or red meat wouldn't go there and if they had to go there for social reasons, they would have very low expectations. In either case, they wouldn't be disappointed. But Coi is harder to figure out beforehand in terms of traditional labels. So the place probably gets quite a few people who go there with sky-high expectations based on the restaurant's ratings only to discover that the food is not their cup of tea.

                                        1. re: nocharge
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                                          pauliface RE: nocharge Mar 15, 2011 09:55 AM

                                          You seem to miss my point, and have now twice categorized me as perhaps someone who doesn't understand what Coi is trying to do.

                                          To be clear:
                                          I love food like they are trying to do. I just feel they failed.
                                          The closest to what they are after in my experience is L'Astrance in Paris, which basically throws Coi in the mud and marches over it in 10" heels.
                                          Another place that Coi might aspire to be like (foodwise), but fails in comparison: Momofuku Ko,

                                          Coi *should* have been a favorite for me. But they failed.
                                          To be honest, so many people praise them that I'm almost tempted to go back in the hopes that I got them on an off night. However, it was so expensive that I would not take that gamble.

                                          1. re: pauliface
                                            Robert Lauriston RE: pauliface Mar 15, 2011 10:09 AM

                                            I've been really impressed by the food at Plum, which I think is the same style of food as Coi, but without the high-end trappings, steep price, or fixed menu.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                                              pauliface RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 15, 2011 10:27 AM

                                              I suppose this is a way to give him a second chance.
                                              How is Plum priced? I see no info on their website, no menu no prices, only address and reservation system.

                                              1. re: pauliface
                                                Robert Lauriston RE: pauliface Mar 15, 2011 10:45 AM

                                                Click "more about Plum" for sample menus.

                                                http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/6/1542973...

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                                                  pauliface RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 15, 2011 11:04 AM

                                                  All right then. the prices are within "giving a second chance" range....

                                                  I'll give it a try sometime soon...

                                              2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                z
                                                zin1953 RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 15, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                I agree, and I prefer Plum . . .

                                2. re: nocharge
                                  Civil Bear RE: nocharge Mar 14, 2011 06:03 PM

                                  Gary Danko as a tourist trap? Interesting. You make it sound like tourists can pop in off the street after a long day visiting the wharf.

                                  For me, GD is where you want to go to experience a slow paced special meal, whereas Boulevard is where you take your client on an expense account.

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

                                  1. re: Civil Bear
                                    Ruth Lafler RE: Civil Bear Apr 23, 2011 04:29 PM

                                    I think it's more that Gary Danko is "touristy" is the sense that it's the place that visitors to SF get steered to as "the best" in SF by Zagat and other guides.

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

                                3. re: Paul H
                                  Robert Lauriston RE: Paul H Mar 14, 2011 09:30 AM

                                  Gary Danko's current menu includes Black Sea caviar, eggplant, Asian pear, mango, cucumbers, grapes, passion fruit, raspberry, and bananas.

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

                              2. re: ikb
                                Robert Lauriston RE: ikb Mar 13, 2011 08:38 AM

                                The question in the linked topic was, "Boulevard or Gary Danko?"

                          2. v
                            vulber RE: ejr Mar 12, 2011 05:50 PM

                            note that boulevard is a la carte, whereas gary danko is fixed price

                            1. d
                              dinoo82 RE: ejr Mar 12, 2011 07:00 PM

                              gary danko for sure!!! good food!

                              1. Robert Lauriston RE: ejr Mar 13, 2011 08:42 AM

                                Other high-end places open on Monday include Ame, La Folie, and Quince.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                                  ejr RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 13, 2011 12:02 PM

                                  Thanks, all. Sounds like I may have posed the wrong question: so, for a memorable meal on a Monday night, and given a late Saturday at RN74 and Sunday at La Ciccia or Range, where to????
                                  Ps -- you guys are great!

                                  -----
                                  La Ciccia
                                  291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                  RN74
                                  301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                  1. re: ejr
                                    bbulkow RE: ejr Mar 13, 2011 12:21 PM

                                    Robert's list is very nice. I actually haven't tried any of them, but looking at your list, would choose Ame.

                                2. n
                                  Nopa RE: ejr Mar 13, 2011 09:18 PM

                                  Boulevard is waaaaay over-rated. You'll spend $$$ and wonder why?.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Nopa
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                                    zin1953 RE: Nopa Mar 13, 2011 10:13 PM

                                    Sadly, I agree with this. I have never thought Boulevard matched what Nancy Oakes was doing at L'Avenue . . . .

                                    1. re: Nopa
                                      v
                                      vulber RE: Nopa Mar 13, 2011 10:16 PM

                                      yup

                                    2. 4
                                      4wino RE: ejr Apr 23, 2011 03:41 PM

                                      My wife and I visited SF for 2 days. Had reservation for 8pm at GD on a Thursday. Immediately seated, asked for sparkling water and asked for the cocktail menu. No menu comes about. Asked again for it, finally the server brings it. While perusing the cocktail menu, we are served the amuse bouche!!!! Hello. This was a turn off for my wife and she didn't even eat it because she wasn't done with the menu and wanted to enjoy her cocktail first. We saw that neighboring tables also received their amuse buche while still reading their menus as well.

                                      Food was very good, but not great. Everything executed great, but nothing to make me say wow, same for my wife. The lobster risotto was filled with seafood and delicious, but be careful as the courses are served quickly one after another and you may not have room for all your other courses after it. My wife enjoyed the Thai curry, the scallops were nicely carmelized, but a bit overdone.

                                      The place is very congested, with barely any space between tables. When a waiter shows up, you have to scooch your elbows away from the waiter to avoid any embarrassing contact. Extremely noisy, and we were unlucky to land right next to a group of 3 ladies that had a non-stop shouting match throughout most of our dinner.

                                      Very impressive cheese selection, but the delivery was rather sloppy and rushed...kind of sums up our dining experience for us. Though their bite-size desserts/candies at the end were quite the variety and a nice touch.

                                      Overall, disappointed for a Michelin 1 star.

                                      Would not recommend.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: 4wino
                                        Ruth Lafler RE: 4wino Apr 23, 2011 04:23 PM

                                        Most of your complaints seem valid, but I don't get the one about being served an amuse bouche while you're still looking at the menu. What's wrong with having a bite to eay while you look at the menu? I'm truly mystified that you'd slam a restaurant for that.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                          honkman RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 23, 2011 08:21 PM

                                          I agree with 4wino that it is a sign of really bad service to serve an amuse bouche when you are still looking at the cocktail menu. Many people like to have a cocktail before they start the dinner perhaps even prefer to have a wine pairing with the dinner. By starting the dinner already with an amuse bouche you would get your cocktail with your first course and wouldn't have a chance for a good wine pairing - overall bad, rushed service.

                                          Good service (like many upscale restaurants do) would have been to bring the cocktail menu, let customer decide which cocktail they want, serve it, give customer time to enjoy cocktail (server might ask if they want to see already the menu while drinking the cocktail), bring dinner menu, let customers order, serve amuse bouche as sign that dinner will start.

                                          1. re: honkman
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                                            nocharge RE: honkman Apr 24, 2011 07:07 PM

                                            Totally agree. I'd much prefer that the amuse be served after I've ordered and the menus are out of the way. A serious amuse is not just a snack you munch on while reading the menu.

                                            1. re: nocharge
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                                              ML8000 RE: nocharge Apr 24, 2011 07:16 PM

                                              So how would anyone define the service model at Gary Danko...classic "3 year apprenticeship slicing bread" French, "continental" American or some kind of combo/hybrid. I'm asking since it's vague and that should tell you when the amuse is suppose be served. That said, since amuse bouche is complimentary...I don't look a gift horse in the mouth...but yes, after your cocktail has arrived and you have a moment to sip it is right.

                                              1. re: ML8000
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                                                nocharge RE: ML8000 Apr 25, 2011 01:20 AM

                                                Not sure how Gary Danko fits into the standard traditional restaurant categories. I like to think of it in terms of the market segment it serves. Seems like all destinations that attract a lot of tourists have a segment for generic, high-end dining. So Fisherman's Wharf has Gary Danko, Waikiki has La Mer, etc., and while La Mer may have a slightly heavier French accent than Danko, they both serve the same purpose, namely to serve tourists that want to spend big bucks on a safe, high-end dining experience.

                                                As for complimentary food, I wouldn't mind getting a free bowl of tortilla chips at a place like Chevy's while reading the menu. However, at a place like, say, Atelier Crenn where amuses are works of art, I'd rather have it be an integral part of the meal once I'm ready to eat, not when I just sat down and I'm looking at the menu.

                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler
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                                            4wino RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 23, 2011 08:55 PM

                                            My review of GD was a reflection of my experience there, I pointed out the good and the bad of my experience. It was not a criticism, which would be devoted only to the negatives. And certainly was not a slam, in which case I would have only mentioned the bread that was served and leave it at that.

                                        2. e
                                          ElizabethReed RE: ejr Apr 23, 2011 04:02 PM

                                          Danko hands down. We also like Boulevard very much. Usually it's our first stop for lunch after getting off the plane.

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