Going to the US while on a diet is not a good thing. Therefore I went on a semi-diet break. I vowed to try to eat as healthy as possible when I could. The diet can start again when I go back to Manila.
My first meal in San Francisco was dinner at one of the city’s best restaurant, Gary Danko. My good friend Ariel treated me to this special gustatory meal and I won’t ever forget it.
Dining at Gary Danko was a different experience. They didn’t have an ala carte menu. You choose from a prix fixe menu and decide if you want a three, four or five course meal. Then you get to choose a dish from any of the categories. If you choose an item from appetizers to be your main course to be served as your main entree the serving size will be adjusted appropriately.
Gary Danko menu
Ariel and I chose to have 3 courses each. Beforehand my cousins who have eaten at Gary Danko advised me not to order dessert as one of my 3 courses because we would be served petit fours.
I was tempted to order the seared foie gras for my main course. I can just imagine how big the foie gras would be since the appetizer portion was pretty generous too. It was quite thick and as expected the flavor and texture was just sublime. But what really blew my mind was the caramelized red onion that was served with it. It was so, so sweet and just perfect with the foie gras and apple slices. I wish I asked for more of the onions.
Sonoma seared foie gras with caramelized red onions & apples
My cousin raved about the risotto so that’s what I ordered for my second course even though it was all carbs. The risotto had generous chunks of lobster and shrimp. It was incredibly creamy and buttery. My only complaint was it was too salty. I thought it was because I wasn’t used to salty food anymore because of my diet but when Ariel tried it he agreed with me. I told the server about it and he didn’t say anything nor did he offer to change it. That was quite a disappointment. It would have been a perfect dish.
risotto with lobster, rock shrimp, shimeji mushroom & butternut squash
For our main course Ariel and I both chose the double pork entree. The roast pork belly was just ok. The skin wasn’t crispy at all. I wonder what Americans would say if they get to try our lechon kawali with super crispy skin. After eating the pork belly I was already too full.
I forced myself to eat a piece of the pork tenderloin. I was amazed at how tender it was. The texture didn’t even taste like pork. It was just exquisite. It was prepared so simply that the natural flavor of the pork was the star and not some fancy and complicated sauce. The sauce was sweet yet tangy and ended with some heat from the jalapeño. I had to ask for a doggy bag for the remaining pork.
roasted pork belly & tenderloin with brussel sprouts, apples, parsnip puree and maple cider reduction
Ariel had more control than me when it came to choosing the right food. He ordered seafood for his first two courses. A large piece of the most perfectly cooked lobster was served with a simple salad with flavors that burst into your mouth. If I didn’t order foie gras this would be my choice the next time I eat at Gary Danko.
lobster salad with persimmons, mango, avocado, cashews &
lime cilantro remoulade
And finish it we did. I was glad the portions were tiny, just a biteful really. I painstakingly cut up each piece in two so both of us could try everything. Let me tell you they were all fantabulous!!
It’s too bad I misplaced my pumpkin cake so I wasn’t able to try it. I think I left it on the front desk of Hotel Nikko when I went to have my room key reactivated. Darn it.
It was a bit pricey for a three course meal costing $69 but the servings were a good size and we got an amuse bouche as well as one of the best petit fours I haven’t eaten. Other than the salty risotto it was one of the finest meals I’ve ever eaten in the United States.
Gary Danko800 North Point Street San Francisco, CA 94109
telephone: (415) 749-206