Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gorging at Gary Danko

Before we returned to Los Angeles, we squeezed in a dinner at Gary Danko. After hearing so many raves, we were worried it wouldn't live up to the hype.
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The ambience leaves much to be desired. Very 1990s. And, yes, that is a baby contraption on a seat behind Mr. Monkey.

Don't be those people. Babies don't belong at Gary Danko.

Unwelcome baby and dated decor notwithstanding, our experience at Gary Danko was very enjoyable. I am happy to report that it met our high expectations and is very deserving of its Michelin star.

It seems we always have fun with our butter. Ding!
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Like a miniature waffle! Awww.

Amuse bouche.
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We slurped up this coconut-based soup with tofu with some tiny spoons and were all smiles after we finished. It made us look forward to what was to come.

The beauty of Gary Danko is that you can create your own tasting menu -- three courses for $66, four courses for $83, or five courses for $98. Even better, you're not limited to choosing from specific genres. Want five meats? Sure! Want multiple desserts? Go for it!

We loved having creative control and were elated to order an additional meat and appetizer instead of the usual cheese course. If you're wondering, we got the five-course tasting. Did you have any doubt about that?

Soft shell crab with white polenta, tomatoes, corn, basil, and pancetta.
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Sniffle. I am shedding a tear now just remembering this. So freakin' yummy. Crisp and savory on a bed of corny, bacony goodness. Strong start!

Sweet corn soup with Dungeness crab, red pepper, crème fraîche, and ham biscuit.
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Did I mention I love corn? And crab? And pork? Warm, creamy, dreamy. Sigh.

Roast Maine lobster, potato purée, Shiitake mushrooms, corn, tarragon.
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Substantial, fresh, and excellent. The lobster's unmasked natural flavor was delicious.

Risotto with lobster, rock shrimp, corn, peas, roasted tomatoes.
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Fancy comfort food at its finest. If I were rich, I'd want to eat this on all my sick days.

Rare Moroccan spiced squab, chermoula, orange-cumin carrots.
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Squab is ideally enjoyed rare to medium-rare, but this was a bit too rare for my liking. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the meat's richness and interesting spices. This was probably my least favorite dish of the night.

Branzini with fennel purée, Niçoise olives, navel oranges, saffron.
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The skin was crisped to perfection. Really enjoyed the pairing of the fish with citrus.

Roasted loin of bison, king trumpet mushrooms, glazed cipollini onions, herb spätzle.
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Hey! This mushroom looks like Italy! The bison was meaty and tender. My heart belonged to the spätzle, though. I really really like spätzle, and this neon green spätzle was awesome. Bounce, bounce!

Quail stuffed with foie gras, leeks, and quinoa, farro, Maitake mushrooms, zucchini, roasted red peppers.
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If this quail got into a fight with the squab, this quail would totally kick the squab's ass. Of course, this quail had an unfair advantage of being stuffed with foie gras, which gave it the extra energy of a distant cousin's liver. You want rich? I got your rich right here. Booyeah for tasty tiny fowl!

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French macaron ice cream sandwiches with three sauces.
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Rawr! We plowed through these like hungry lions. Not that lions are known for liking macarons. Or ice cream. Ok, this made no sense. All you need to know is that these were great.

Trio of crème brûlée with assorted cookies.
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Mocha, caramel, vanilla all on one plate. Mmmmmarvelous.

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We were so full that we just boxed these to go.

Take-home goodies.
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In addition to our boxed mignardise, we got a little breakfast cake and a signed menu.

With all this loot in both hands, I did a little dance outside. The meal was that good.


  1. The people who brought the baby need to FRO. Not cool.

  2. Looks *amazing*

    Knew it had to be great with MsBlake's recommendation.

    "Of course, this quail had an unfair advantage of being stuffed with foie gras, which gave it the extra energy of a distant cousin's liver."

  3. Trio of creme brulee sounds heavenly.

  4. i've always wanted to try gary danko but was scared of the prices. 5 courses 66? not bad! will try next time i'm in town :) thanks much!

  5. The only thing I regret about all the years I lived in SF is that I did not have the same amount of disposable income then. Or a sugar daddy.

  6. This post makes me sad that we were not able to visit Gary Danko while in SF. Ahhh there's always next time. Plus Boulevard was delicious.

  7. It DID look Italy! Glad to hear that GD was everything you hoped it would be. Happy dance!

  8. great review...we've always wanted to go and maybe with a trip to SF coming up we just might now. Great photos!

  9. Seriously - who brings a baby to a nice restaurant???? It's not like the baby is going to enjoy the tasting menu.

  10. Hi weezermonkey,

    Thanks for the review. It's good to know that besides the decor the food was worth it. :) Beautiful pics.

  11. All I can think of is the bounce, bounce of the spatzle. :P

  12. I agree about the baby. Totally and completely. I also have to say I am so jealous of your awesome food shots! I need to figure out a better way to take these pictures without flash, as mine just end up all blurry. I wonder if bringing my teeny tabletop tripod would look weird? LOL

  13. That quail is like a fancy schmancy version of the turducken, except 1000x better. Thank you, once again, for a fabulous virtual meal.

  14. I don't remember one single thing I ate at Danko.. even with the pix..

  15. I want all that meat!

  16. In the baby pic, is the dude in the blue shirt really giving you the eye for taking a picture? If so, wow.

  17. don't sigh and feel sad for remembering how tasty the meals the flavor

    ha, lucky.

    --fine dining day for me :D

  18. I can't believe a baby was at a Michelin starred restaurant. Lucky baby. Ditto SL about wishing I had more money when I lived in SF. Perhaps I would have ventured outside my comfort zone of Indian buffets and dirty Pho (which I loved, of course). This meal looks so good that my head kind of hurts seeing and reading about it.

  19. macaron ice cream sandwich? genius!

  20. Baby at a casual gtg at a friend's house. Fine.

    Baby at a fine dine restaurant. Not fine at all.

    I swear, I don't get people sometimes. :/

    I do love that you went home with a signed menu. It really does make a great dinner that much better, doesn't it? :)

  21. Distant cousin's liver? Hehe. I don't like squab. But I love saying it squab what a fun word. The risotto looks crazy good. And I love mushrooms shaped likeforeign countries. Maybe one day you find virgin maryn Jesus shaped one.

  22. That to go box for the desserts was awesome. I think Bazaar needed that. It's a nice touch.

    Wow! What a dinner!! Damn, I need to make the trip for that place now. It's been on radar for over a year and I been achin' to go there. Thanks for the review!

  23. Hmmmmm. The creme brulee looks marvelous.


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