Gary Danko

My apologies for my absence from the blogosphere.  After a long day of work, I usually come home and cook dinner.  Portland just doesn’t have the same dining options that LA did, so its forced my hand to cook more regularly.  If anyone knows me, I don’t like to cook instant or even semi-instant sh*t.   I cook the way my mom did, fresh veggies and meat.  Anyways, after that I vegetate in front of the TV and the last thing I can think of doing is blogging.  On top of that my computer is all slow because I upgraded to Lion so blogging is just difficult.  Looks like I’m only able to blog on days off, which today happens to be.  Yay for me!  Ok enough whining…

Last weekend I hit up SF to visit my sister.  It’s been 3 or 4 years since I’ve been to SF.  I dunno why it took me so long to come back for a visit.  I’ll just blame everything on my prior “overworked-ness.”  Smooth Obturator really wanted to try Gary Denko, so reservations were made some time ago.  The restaurant is pretty small, so I can imagine why reservations may be hard to get.  There was actually a couple with a young child sitting at the bar enjoying dinner.  Right when I was thinking to myself, “I don’t think this is the kind of place you take a little kid,” the kid went and spit up his food right into mom’s hand.  Thanks kid, way to ruin my appetite.

I loved the many choices available at Gary Denko.  You can make up your own tasting menu from any of the items on the menu.  They can make appetizers into entrees and vice versa.  It was just too exciting.

Roasted Tomato and Fennel Soup chives

Because we had to wait a little bit past our reservation time for our table, the chef wanted to thank us by  giving us something a little bit special.  It was certainly a teeny amount of very yummy soup.  Sweet, savory, with some tangy tomato chive topping.

This was one crazy expensive HALF bottle of wine.  I won’t say how much, but it was more than I could afford.  It was a beautiful cabernet sauvignon.  Thanks to Smooth Obturator and Triple T for footing the bill on this one!

I expected a bit more something exciting for bread when it comes to a restaurant of this caliber.

Buckwheat Blini salmon, caviar, creme fraiche

I have never really had a blini with caviar that I found to be amazing.  Usually the blini is cold and hard, but this was truly a delectable bite.  The bilini was warm, soft, with a fresh crisp exterior.  The salmon was smokey and the caviar was briny.  It was delicious.

Glazed Oysters osetra caviar, zucchini, lettuce cream

I’ve read about Thomas Keller’s famous “oysters and pearls” so I imagined this be something similar.  Smooth Obturator has actually had the “oysters and pearls” dish and he said it was nothing like it.  Oh well.  I still found it delicious for being cooked oysters.  It still maintained the integrity of raw oysters that was in a warm creamy sauce.  The dish was pretty salty from the oysters and caviar but I appreciated the plentiful ocean brine.

Crispy Farm Egg white polenta, royal trumpet mushrooms, frisee, pancetta

It seems you can never go wrong with a crispy farm egg with an oozy rich yolk.

Seared Sonoma Foie Gras caramelized red onions, port glazed figs

This is the best damn piece of foie gras I have ever had.  It may also be the last tasting I ever have since foie will be banned in California in 2012.  It was so buttery and sinful.  It went perfectly with the sweet wine reduction.  The greens did help to cut the richness some.  Serious, YUMMY!

Dungeness Crab Salad quinoa, fennel, mint, grapefruit, yuzu remolade

The salad was pretty simple and the star of the dish obviously was the big chunks of crab meat.  I think Triple T was pretty happy with it.

Seared Sea Scallops zucchini-basil puree, roasted tomatoes, haricot verts, peppers

I’m a sucker for scallops.  It’s just so sad that you only get two.  They were nicely seared and caramelized.  A starch would have a nice addition to round out the dish.

The flesh was so meaty and sweet.  I love a good scallop, but I love a good shrimp even more!

Roasted Pork Belly and Tenderloin brussel sprouts, apples, parsnips puree, maple cider reduction

Pork seems so ho hum of a protein.  They did a good job with this making it very moist and tender.

Risotto lobster, rock shrimp, shimeji mushrooms, butternut squash, roasted tomatoes

Drooooool.  This was damn good.  Creamy, unctuous, seafoody!

Quail stuffed with foie gras, mushrooms, quinoa, romano beans, smoked ham hocks, cornbread pudding

I think there was more stuffing than quail.  I only had a nibbling’ of this one but Smooth Obturator seemed to enjoy his pork dish a bit more.  I prefer Marie Callendar’s boxed cornbread over this cornbread pudding.  Blame Smooth Obturator for the blurry photo.

Striped Bass speck, gnocchi, butternut squash, crimini mushrooms, capers, sage

I think Triple T thought her fish was the least interesting of our 3rd courses.  The fish was well prepared with a crispy exterior.  The gnocchi could have been lighter.

Roast Maine Lobster potato puree, chanterelle mushrooms, edamame, tarragon

The lobster was excellent, perfectly executed with a light buttery potato puree.

Juniper Crusted Bison king trumpet mushrooms, glazed cipollini mushrooms, herb spaetzle

The bison was pretty darn lean.  Despite that, it was still relatively moist, but I definitely would have liked a nice marbled rib eye.  The spaetzle was green but didn’t taste too herby.  It was also more risotto like in preparation than your traditional spaetzle.

Warm Louisianna Butter Cake apples, huckleberry sauce, vanilla bean ice cream

I wanted to explode by the time dessert rolled around, but how can you skip dessert?  It’s as essential as drinks to a complete meal.  Anyways, the butter cake was sorta dry or too chewy.  It was like it was pre baked and then reheated by the order.  Pass.

French Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches three sauces

I don’t know what the big deal is when it comes to macaroons.  People just go gaga, but not me.  These were pretty good I suppose and the different ice cream flavors and colors made for a colorful dish.

Lemon Souffle Cake creme fraiche panna cotta, rasberry sorbet

Light, creamy, tart.  The panna cotta added more creaminess.  An interesting pairing.

Mignardises assorted petit four

I didn’t eat these until the next day and they were still pretty good.  Some were better than others.

The food was pretty spot on.  Execution and service were excellent.  I can see why Gary Denko has such an amazing reputation.  It is definitely a must eat fine dining destination in San Francisco.  The foie gras is a MUST and all the seafood dishes beat out their land roaming counterparts by far.  The dessert was not as impressive as the dinner, but I’d definitely come back and highly recommend this place to others.

Gary Denko

800 N. Point St.

San Francisco, CA  94109

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