Bianca: San Francisco was the first stop on our Squad-Nusa honeymoon. I’d been before, the other half had not. So it was to be a mixture of playing tour guide and new explorations! I’m a huge advocate for American contemporary cuisine. Forget everything you think you know about American food. Cheap, huge portions, loaded with cheese and sauces… of course, you can get all these things and more… But know where to go and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best food you’ll likely come across. I experienced a bit of this when I was travelling through Texas in early 2017.
One of my more ‘fancois’ picks to celebrate was Gary Danko. It’s location down at tourist mecca Fishermen’s Wharf might turn you off but don’t be misled. The food is wonderful! It’s definitely flash so dress to impress, in saying that, I didn’t find the service overly stuffy. It is fairly tight and compact in the main dining area, we had a lovely table in the corner of the restaurant but once another couple came to occupy the table adjacent to us it was very tight quarters, not very intimate at all.
This was my first Michelin starred restaurant and it was a great little foray into the elite fine dining scene of San Fran. I have Atelier Crenn on my hit list for my next visit!
We opted for the 3 courses at $92 pp and thus began our dip into the world of Gary Danko.
First course: Poached Farm Egg Carbonara w/ braised bacon & brioche. A clever play on the popular Italian classic, the gooey yolk a masterstroke alongside the rich bacon & buttery brioche. Roast Maine Lobster -w/potato puree, chanterelle mushrooms, corn and tarragon was quite the indulgent way to start the meal. Plump, sweet, juicy lobster accompanied by a thick rich potato puree. And who knew you could pack so much flavour into mushrooms?
Second course: Seared Filet of Beef -w/cumin potatoes, swiss chard, tomato-corn relish & basil butter. The steak a perfect medium rare, with the elegant pat of butter melting gloriously over the velvety steak. Perhaps not revolutionary but delicious none the less. I was initially sceptical about my choice but I think I had the winner. Mousseline wrapped Pork Tenderloin -w/ braised cheeks, cranberry beans, favas & fennel confit. Perhaps some of the best pork I’ve ever had, incredibly tender and moist. The small ‘nuggets’ of beef, were unctuously soft and melted in the mouth.
Elegance across the board and this only continued with dessert. The Third course: Lemon Souffle Cake -w/creme fraiche pannacotta & raspberry sorbet was a theatrical display that also paid off in the flavour stakes. Light as air with an understated lemon flavour. The various sauces adding interest with each and every bite. The Peanut butter dessert was calling my name but I instantly honed in on the Warm Lousiana Butter Cake -w/apples, huckleberry compote & vanilla bean ice-cream. The cake was lovely, sweetness from the cake and sharpness from the compote. The texture of the cake was fairly tough, that would really be my only feedback.
And as a special ‘happy honeymoon’ to the Squad-Nusa’s. They brought out a complimentary Creme Fraiche Cheesecake -w/ Black Mission Figs, Spiced pecans & port ice-cream and the mother load of Petit Fours... what a way to end a meal.
From beginning to end it was a class act, service was friendly and attentive if not a little rehearsed (pretty much bog standard across the US) we were in and out within an hour and a half. Quite rushed for 3 courses and a fine dining meal but enjoyable none the less. I recommend adding to the list next time you’re in San Francisco!