Sunday was our anniversary, so we wanted something special and we've never been to Gary Danko. First impression was small, intimate, lots of light wood. The wait staff were dressed in suits and ties, which at first was disconcerting, but we got used to it. Every table had 3 perfect roses. The plates were all white, but in interesting and unusual shapes - even a slanted bowl holding something delivered to another table. The service was competent, friendly, not snobby, and very helpful. The menu was the most flexible I've ever seen - almost anything can be substituted for anything else and totally mix and match. The 5 course tasting menu was only that because it was paired with a wine tasting. Basically, you could have 3 courses for $55, 4 courses for $64, and 5 courses for $74. My guess is that they adjusted the portion sizes depending on what course you wanted for what.
They first presented an amuse bouche of cucumber soup with tomato salsa. This was good, though not great, as it had a somewhat bitter edge. I had fois gras as my first course. The good sized portion was perfectly seared and lush and silky. The menu says it was with figs and carmelized onions. The carmelized onions were invisible, apparently, but there was a sauce of what seemed like a berry compote. The figs paired wonderfully with the fois gras, but on the whole it was too sweet.
My second course was Moroccan-spiced squab with cheramoya and orange-cumin carrots. Again, there was an invisible ingredient as I could find no trace of any cheramoya. On the other hand, the squab was medium rare, juicy, and went wonderfully with the couscous and the carrots.
Their cheese cart has been commented on previously on this list and it indeed looked impressive. Since my husband isn't a cheese person, I felt I was too full to do it justice.
My dessert course was a chocolate souffle with vanilla and chocolate sauces. Yum.
My husband, with an allergy to orange and a newly suspected allergy to the mint family was a bit more problematical. He ordered the seared ahi tuna as a first course and the duck as his second. The waitress came back and explained apologetically that both dishes included thyme, a member of the mint family. They served him sushi grade ahi with the rest of the preparation the same - lemon sauce, avocado, enoki mushrooms. Wonderful blend of flavors and beautifully presented. Instead of the duck he opted for the sturgeon, substituting the rosemary potato cake for pureed potatoes and the sauce. It was served topped with basil - another member of the mint family. Many apologies and the dish was redone with a lovely plate of vegetables on the side - as the original dish's veggies were cooked in basil oil. The kitchen really took care of him and the waitress was wonderful.
His fabulous dessert was a trio of creme brulee: vanilla, lemon verbena, and pistachio.
The wine steward, too, was helpful and knowledgeable.
Bottom line; wonderful but not perfect (as was Masa's when Julian Serrano was chef).
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