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Gary Danko - Thumbs Up! (very long)

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Gary Danko - Thumbs Up! (very long)

Wendy Lai | Apr 11, 2002 11:44 AM

Last months somebody posted a thread about Gary Danko and unfortunately she had a bad experience there. I promised I would give my review after our visit. We did last night, and it was sooooooooo good.

It was our wedding anniversary, and I told the reservationist so when I made the booking. I asked for a nice table, and indeed recived a lovely booth on the left side of the restaurant, normally reserved for 3 people.

For those who are unfamiliar, Gary Danko offers great flexibility in their menu. 3, 4 or 5 courses meals are offered, and you can order any dish on the menu and specify what order you want it to come during the meal and they will portion it accordingly. Both my husband and I opted for the 5 course dinner.

In the order that was served I had : foie gras terrine with toasted brioche, pear chutney and saba gastrique - shellfish bisque with a saffron and lobster ravioli and chili oil - coriander, black peper and rosemary crusted ahi tuna with piperade - herb crusted loin of lamb with barley risotto and portobello mushroom tian, and for dessert season sorbet with three cookie sampler.

My husband had: Seared ahi tuna with avocado, nori, enoki mushrooms and lemon-soy dressing - seared foie gras, carmaelized red onions, pinapple terrine and hisbiscus essencia sauce - roast Main lobster with eggplant-shallot puree with saffron and basil - soy glazed filet of beef with roasted eggplant - pepper marmalade, and for desert baked chocolate souffle with two sauces.

It would take me pages if I gave details about each dish, so let me just hit the highlights and misses. The seared ahi tuna with avocado was awsome! Four perfect slices of tuna seared just perfectly, the combination with avocado and the lemon-soy dressing brought out the fattiness and the creaminess of the two. Putting everything in your mouth you feel like this is what ahi tuna should be. My foie gras terrine had the benefit of the sweet pear chutney, which sounds simple enough but together it was masterful. The sweetness and slight tartness really set off the terrine well, the only compliane I have is it was not enough!

Shellfish bisque with saffron lobster ravioli was a big portion, delicious and enough :) Rich, deep flavor of the bisque dotted by lobster meat and baby mussle floated around one large ravioli. Inside the ravioli was a seafood mousse of some sort. I think the whole thing could have used more saffron, but as is it was still great.

Both the lamb and the beef came perfectly done, medium rare to medium. The wine reduction sauces on both really tied the meat to the side dishes. The beef had a wonderful potato "thing". It's perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, a combination of Indian spices gives the right amount of kick. I don't know how they did it but I never had potatos that good before.

The misses were the seared spices crusted tuna with piperade and the trio of sorbets. The entire tuna dish was a little on the bland side for me, despite the spic crust. The bed of piperade was some yellow thing (they didn't explain) and red peppers, very bland and not hot(temperature) enough. Of the three flavors of sorbet (chocolate, coconut and pear) only the coconut was yummy. The others were too bitter and too bland. I also didn't like that the sorbet was pre-scooped and place on the plate and frozen all together, everything was too cold and hard, very difficult to eat.

We ordered a 1/2 bottle, Duckhorn Vineyard 1999 merlot. I'm not a frequent wine drinker, but I think I can tell at least from good to bad, and my husband (who is a wine drinker) also thought this wine was well worth the $58 price tag. Very very smooth, easy on the pallet, no tannic.

The entire dinner service was flawless. Our server, Dennis, was super nice and friendly, but not overly so. Everything course came with just the right amount of rest time, we didn't feel rushed yet no long periods of waiting either. There was a longer wait for dessert because my husband ordered the souffle and we decline the cheese cart. But that wait was welcomed because after five course, I thought I was going to bust. I also got to visit the kitchen, Dennis took me to the back and to my surprise, with over 12 people in the kitchen it was not the the hectic sence that you usually see on TV, but rather orderly and not even hot as you would image a kitchen to be.

I wish every meal could be like this, and being it was our wedding anniversay, we couldn't have asked for me...well except for French Laundry :) Which is still the best two meals in our whole entire lives, but it's not fair to compare anything else with French Laundry.

Gray Danko, two thumbs way up.
The whole bill for the two of us, with tip and tax was a even $300.

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