First, thanks so much for all your recommendations last week and insights on Gary Danko in general on this board. I went in with a good idea of what I would order and with the highest expectations. Our reservation was Friday at 8:30pm for a party of 6, and I made it about a month and a half ago. In a nutshell, the service was oustanding, the dining room was comfortable, and the food was disappointing, given the prices and reputation.
SERVICE: Service was slow, as many hounds have reported. I can appreciate that our relatively large party and the busy Friday night probably slowed the service even more, though. The one HUGE problem was that we had to wait 25 minutes to be seated. With a relatively large party, that kind of wait is just unexcusable. The restaurant definitely allows itself to get too crowded, as we weren't the only party waiting for a long time to be seated. When we were finally seated, the service was outstanding - well-coordinated between main waiter and support staff and very attentive staff all around.
FOOD: Between the 6 of us, we tried about 15 different courses. We also tried to sample each other's courses as much as possible since none of us has the budget to make frequent trips back. Anyway, the consensus was that the food was good but disappointing because many of the courses were either poorly prepared or "nothing special" (which I define to be: you can get better versions elsewhere for cheaper).
Our starter was a rich soup, and my oysters came with what I thought was the same soup as a base, except creamier. Just too creamy for me, almost masking the flavor of the oysters and caviar, although I can see how people really enjoy it. The caviar was a great touch to the dish, and the oysters melted in my mouth. Tried others' lobster risotto and foie gras - risotto was nothing special but lobster seemed undercooked, foie gras was perfectly cooked but the sauce was a little too sweet, almost distracting.
For seafood, I got the scallops, which was a huge mistake. Again, the sauce seemed redundant with the oysters' sauce, so that just ruined it for me. Also, the scallops were a little undercooked, so they were softer and fishier than they should be. Tried others' frog legs and lobster - frog legs were tasty but honestly not that different from ones I've had at good Chinese restaurants (and there were only 3 small pieces!), lobster was plain.
My favorite dish was the duck breast, very tasty and well-prepared. While the sauce was a bit salty, it didn't overwhelm the duck, and the duck hash and the cherries were great complements. Unfortunately, the lamb had a very similar sauce. It was cooked perfectly, but it lacked the distinctive lamb flavor and was overpowered by the sauce. The Israeli cous cous didn't mesh with the lamb either, so I just ate them separately. Tried some of the quail, which was tasty but a little dry.
For dessert, I got the chocolate souffle but skipped what other people ordered. I'd read the souffle wasn't that chocolatey, but that didn't deter me, and I thought it was good - fluffy and warm. Our waiter was very helpful and thorough in explaining the cheese cart, and each person that ordered the cheese got exactly the kinds of cheese they wanted. I nibbled at a bunch of them, and they were all fun to eat. I'm more a dessert person than cheese person, so I skipped the cheese course, but perhaps next time ...
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