|Larkin Street entrance to Ghirardelli Square
|Historic Ghirardelli Sign
Illuminated stringing lights and beautiful lights curtain in the square
Gary Danko has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I was saving it until there was a special occasion to celebrate. Years passed and I still haven’t dined. So this time around, I was done putting it off. When my husband asked where I wanted to eat for my birthday, I happily said, “Gary Danko”. He booked a month in advance to lock in the date. At this point, I usually look at review sites and social media for food pictures at a new place I’ll be dining at. I wasn’t even tempted to. Like Andy Warhol said, “The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.” With a dinner date set, hair appointment booked, and outfit planned it felt something bigger than a birthday, more like an engagement dinner or 1-year wedding anniversary.
Alas, we made it to our reservation early. The restaurant isn’t the most elegant and luxurious, but it’s classy, charming and it’s San Francisco. You’re presented with several drink menus and the dinner menu is a prix-fixe of either 3-, 4- or 5-courses. It was very lively with staff attending to people’s needs, the cheese sommelier making his recommendations and the entertainment of the delicious crepe flambés being made table side. There was a lot going on at once and never did the quality of service go down. While everyone around us was on their last course, we were just about to get started. My husband and I were very excited for what we’d soon be savoring. We opted for the 4-course, a median, where we wouldn’t be overly full or hungry.
Here was my dinner and 4-course selections:
Pumpkin Amuse Bouche
(Compliments of the chef. Lovely soup to start the meal and whet the palate. Very flavorful.)
Salt-cured Foie Gras Torchon with Roasted Grapes, Candied Peanuts, Milk Tuille & Country Bread
(Excellent balance of sweetness, salty and acidity. The foie gras was buttery and melts in your mouth.)
Roast Maine Lobster with Potato Purée, Morel Mushrooms, Edamame and Tarragon
(The lobster was fresh and the potato purée was creamy. My favorite of the night.)
Seared Filet of Beef with Potato Gnocchi, Olive Oil, Swiss Chard and Stilton Butter
(Mouth-watering, tender beef. I wish they had given more of the gnocchi.)
Crème Fraîche Cheesecake with Tropical Fruit and Coconut Sorbet
(Rich, smooth and you could taste the tanginess of the crème fraîche.)
(Compliments of the chef. Wonderful bite-size treats I had to enjoy at home as I was full.)
Much to my amazement, a chocolate mousse cake with a candle was presented to make my birthday even more special than it already was. With the amount of wishes I made (due to the candle reigniting a few times), it seemed highly likely that at least one wish would come true. And there was so many desserts on the table that it looked like we just partook in a buffet of sweets. I kindly asked for the desserts to be boxed up for taking home as we were full. The staff came back with a bag and an elegantly wrapped cream cheese banana bread gift to enjoy the morning after.