Gary Danko Over Sauced, Over Sold, Overly Loud & Over Rated!
Well Chowhounds, I had my long awaited dinner at DG during our annual stay in SF during the Holidays. I read every post from you all, and other sites, to focus in on our dining selection. My wife and I made our reservation in October with DG. We even changed our travel plans to accommodate the available reservation.
We went, we dined and we were very disappointed!
In summary, I am an amateur chef (home cooking only) and I must say, I can do everything GD prepared. This does not mean I am a great chef. What it means is Gary Danko was not able to deliver any better than a home chef. Not able to deliver the best, the special, the epic dinner that I expected.
So, maybe it was the day, maybe it was the crowd, maybe it was just not his day. But whatever it was, it was not the best in SF, not the best in LA and not even the best in San Diego where I live.
This was the menu we selected:
Amuse Bush Scallop musline
First course Foie Gras
Second Course - Scallops with leek and potato
Third course Filet mignon
Fourth course Cheese
Dessert Chocolate soufflé
I will start with the positive:
The foie gras, scallops & filet were cooked nicely
Now the negative:
1) The foie gras, scallops & filet were all over sauced with flavors that made no sense.
Foie Gras the meat was cooked well but the chef did not take the time to remove the sinew requiring a sharp knife to cut through the foie gras. Then I had to make my way through, caramelized onions, browned apples and one other overly sweet vegetable. After tearing through the foie gras with my knife, I could not even finish the savaged meat, even if I could have found it in the mush of sweetness.
Scallops Nicely cooked but in a basic, weak, burre blanc with little flavor.
Filet Again nicely cooked, but set on top of a mish mash of aromatics that competed with the filet to the point of over-powering the meats natural flavor.
2) The cheese course was embarrassing!
Example The cheese steward was nice but without support to do her job. She was only able to talk about some of the cheeses as the board had been ravaged by other guests leaving only small remnants of cheese on the cheese board where it once was displayed. Second, all that was offered with the cheese was a thinly sliced baguette and a few disjointed red grapes. No sweet breads, quince, sliced fruit, etc.
3) The custom wine paring was amateur!
Example First we never did get to speak with the sommelier prior to embarking on our special $65 per person pairing. I had asked our waiter specifically to send the sommelier over prior to pouring any wine. The sommelier never showed and the wines were poured. Poured is not the proper description. Sprinkled is a better description for the pour. There was not even enough wine poured to get half way through the dish with any wine left. Also, we both received different wines from bottles that appeared to be almost empty; it was as if they were trying to finish a few opened bottles. The wines made not sense with the dishes accept for the sauterne with the foie gras.
4) The room is loud and the chairs are painful!
Whats with that? Gary went to the trouble of blacking out all the windows, cramming in multiple small tables, stuffing a bar in the front and yet he does not even give you a comfy chair?
Also, if he turned the music down, maybe people could speak in a normal tone.
Unfortunately, that is what I have to report.
After this experience I decided to do more research into the place.
Gary Danko is not the top at all! Just one of a few good restaurants in SF.
Gary Danko is not one of the great restaurants on SF. GD is very good, but not even close to what it takes to be great Some might say, it was not a good example since I have only been one time. Well, that is an appropriate response to my comments. However, great restaurants always are able to put it together. Maybe not all the dishes, all the time, but they can make your overall dining experience great. Gary Danko did not do this for me.
Specifically, I have only dined twice at the Ritz Carlton Dining Room (even before Ron Segal) and the meals were memorable.
Interestingly, the San Francisco Magazine seemed to align with my impression. Gary Danko is not the top, just one of a few good places.
Bill for two without tip - $376.00