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NorCal Foodie Adventures

Manton

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Had dinner Sunday night at Gary Danko, supposedly the "best" place in SF. Very odd Fisherman's Wharf location, would be like putting Daniel in Times Square. I don't really know how to write restaurant reviews, so let me just say that I though it was excellent. Pretty extensive menu, five courses, you can choose any three, four or five (one of them is a cheese course). They adjust portion sizes accordingly, so even with three you will be well fed. We had only three each and skipped desert and cheese. Even so, they brought us little pastry cookies (awesome). They also brought some caviar, gratis, at the beginning, and when they brought the signed check they gave us a little wrapped breakfast cake for the following morning. The wine list was awesome, thick as a phone book, with many good values. "Good values" is relative. Some were genuinely priced to tempt you to buy, others were just "reasonable" given what they are. For instance, they had a '61 Lafite for a rock-bottom (for a restaurant, anyway) $2,200. The 2005 Latour, on the other hand, was $3,000.

Also went to Bouchon, in Yountville. This is one of Keller's little baby restaurants. It is pretty much an exact copy of a Lyonnaise bistro, from the menu to the decor to pretty much everything. It is not inventive at all. The idea is to be as paleo as possible, and just make the traditional food as well as possible. I had an extremely paleo meal and took a long time to eat it. I really love that place and wish that we had one in NY. My favorite Lyonnaise potatoes were not on the menu (
) but they had "truffle fries": fries fried in a mixture of peanut and truffle oil, with sprinklings of black truffle crumbs. Gimmicky, and probably just a way to use leftover truffle refuse. Frankly, I could not taste truffle hardly at all, but what the hell, it was worth a try.

Stopped at Bryan's in Marin and got some dry-aged, prime, grass-fed steaks. They are salted and resting on paper towels in the fridge to draw some more of the water out and let the seasoning penetrate. I will let you know.
 

Roikins

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Originally Posted by Manton
Had dinner Sunday night at Gary Danko, supposedly the "best" place in SF. Very odd Fisherman's Wharf location, would be like putting Daniel in Times Square. I don't really know how to write restaurant reviews, so let me just say that I though it was excellent. Pretty extensive menu, five courses, you can choose any three, four or five (one of them is a cheese course). They adjust portion sizes accordingly, so even with three you will be well fed. We had only three each and skipped desert and cheese.


Ah, but Danko has one of the best cheese offerings. They had some great Sally Jackson cheeses the last time I was there.
 

poorsod

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1) How would you compare Danko to the Laundry? I understand people seem to like Danko more. Or is the Laundry best on someone else's dollar?

2) Have you tried Aqua? I went a few months ago. It is pleasant but I see no reason to return.

3) When I'm in SF I tend to go to the hole-in-the-wall places I can't find in NYC.
 

Manton

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Danko is more conventional than FL. That's not to say it was dull, but FL is very inventive. Every dish seems to have some "ironic" edge. Danko's food is more straightforward. "More" being relative, as it was quite complex.

I am the outlier here who actually thinks the FL is indeed all it is cracked up to be.

That said, the best thing I had bar none on this trip was this thing at Bouchon that came with my chicken. It was a medly of chopped mushrooms, apple, and cabbage, some pieces carmelized some just sweated, wrapped in a big Savoy cabbage leaf in a perfectly rectangular shape, and placed under the chicken. Food in the center of the plate was then surrounded with jus which bled under thet cabbage thingy, flavoring it and softening it. It was perfect.
 

greekonomist

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Originally Posted by Manton
That said, the best thing I had bar none on this trip was this thing at Bouchon that came with my chicken. It was a medly of chopped mushrooms, apple, and cabbage, some pieces carmelized some just sweated, wrapped in a big Savoy cabbage leaf in a perfectly rectangular shape, and placed under the chicken. Food in the center of the plate was then surrounded with jus which bled under thet cabbage thingy, flavoring it and softening it. It was perfect.

That does sound great. I was thinking about doing a thread like this for DC, but I don't think anything here can compare.
 

Baron

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Originally Posted by Manton
Danko is more conventional than FL. That's not to say it was dull, but FL is very inventive. Every dish seems to have some "ironic" edge. Danko's food is more straightforward. "More" being relative, as it was quite complex.

I am the outlier here who actually thinks the FL is indeed all it is cracked up to be.

That said, the best thing I had bar none on this trip was this thing at Bouchon that came with my chicken. It was a medly of chopped mushrooms, apple, and cabbage, some pieces carmelized some just sweated, wrapped in a big Savoy cabbage leaf in a perfectly rectangular shape, and placed under the chicken. Food in the center of the plate was then surrounded with jus which bled under thet cabbage thingy, flavoring it and softening it. It was perfect.


That does sound good. Straightforward food perfectly prepared is my favorite thing. I like the adventurous stuff too, but I could eat the former every night and it's the way I try and cook at home.
 

Roikins

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Originally Posted by greekonomist
That does sound great. I was thinking about doing a thread like this for DC, but I don't think anything here can compare.

Eve, Cityzen, Komi... on a great night they can come close, but I've found DC restaurants seem to have problems with consistency, whereas NYC or a majority of SF restaurants, are able to consistently put out good meals.

And Aqua is only worth going back to if they have a special menu to try, otherwise, it's not worth return visits if you're stuck with their regular menu.
 

Manton

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My favorite places in DC were Citronelle and Cafe Atlantico, for totally different reasons. I also liked Palena and Lavandou because they were close to my apartment.
 

Roikins

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Originally Posted by Manton
My favorite places in DC were Citronelle and Cafe Atlantico, for totally different reasons. I also liked Palena and Lavandou because they were close to my apartment.

Citronelle is amazing, but the problem I've had there is that the menu seems to rarely change. I try to go there every 6-8 weeks, and it seems like all but 1 or 2 courses of my tasting menu are the same as the previous tasting menu. Maybe I'm expecting too much of a French Laundry/Per Se experience where the menu is always different, save the 2-3 trademark dishes. I think some of it has to do with Richard's move to expand with his Citronelle out in Carmel Valley and Citrus in LA. However, the wine selection there is fantastic.

I still don't understand Palena. I tried that place 4 times trying to see why people said it was great, and the food was good, but it wasn't as amazing as it was made it out to be, especially the much-hyped burger., and the desserts I had were lacking. The service was also always off too. Of course, if it were a quick walk from my house, I could see how it'd be a nice casual place to catch a meal.
 

greekonomist

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Originally Posted by Manton
My favorite places in DC were Citronelle and Cafe Atlantico, for totally different reasons. I also liked Palena and Lavandou because they were close to my apartment.

I've only been to Cafe Atlantico, which I love. My favorite is Taberna del Alabadero.
 

globetrotter

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a lot of the best food I have had in America I had in SF - the best gelato, some of the best italian, probrably the best greek.
 

A Y

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Originally Posted by Manton
My favorite places in DC were Citronelle and Cafe Atlantico, for totally different reasons. I also liked Palena and Lavandou because they were close to my apartment.

It's good to heard DCers enjoying Citronelle. The first Citronelle was in Santa Barbara, but after Richard moved to DC, it kind of went downhill, and closed a few years ago.

--Andre
 

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