Auros (auros) wrote,

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foodpr0n: Xta's bday dinner...

We went to Restaurant Gary Danko for Xta's birthday. It was easily as good as any other restaurant I've been to.

There were about a a dozen things on the menu we didn't get, from all courses, that looked delicious; more than are worth listing out. We asked for a menu to take home, and Gary Danko actually signed one for us. *But* when I got it home, I realized it's not actually tonight's menu -- maybe it's last night's or tomorrows, or just an early draft of tonight's. A few elements got shuffled between this copy and what we actually had -- the scallops are listed with the sour cherries instead of currants; the guinea hen is listed with grape confit instead of cherries; the bass is listed with blood-orange puree, and I'm pretty sure the sea bass ended up with the confit. I don't recall the sauce on it being orangey; it seemed to be the same sauce as on the scallops -- some sort of slightly viscous sauce, with maybe some egg yolk thickening it (I don't think it was cream) and a wine/lemon kind of flavor. I'm not really positive about that; some of the elements have gotten muddled in my head, thought it was definitely all very tasty. My salad is listed with beets instead of asparagus. And the dessert I had isn't on here at all -- intead, there's blueberry french toast with maple syrup emulsion and almond ice cream. Which I would've gotten. *g*

Pre-appetizer: While we were considering the menu, they brought out teensy cups of leek-and-potato soup with a drizzle of thyme-infused olive oil and some little chopped up bits of chorizo.

Cocktail: Xta passed, I got a Diva -- pomegranate and orange liquers and juices, and... uh... I think it was rum maybe? Or vodka. Or something. I forget. In any case, it was tarter, and more friendly to the food, than other pom-citrus cocktails I've had. That flavor pairing seems to be standard at the Latin/tapas places around here -- there's one at Thirsty Bear, Cascal, and Bodeguita del Medio -- but all of those are very syrupy.

Appetizer: I got a salad of white and green asparagus, frisee, teeny poached eggs (quail eggs, maybe?), duck prosciutto and salty/crispy duck bits (crisp like croutons, maybe made from the skin?), shaved parmesan, and walnut-lemon vinaigrette. Xta had risotto with lobster and rock shrimp, diced zucchini, and Meyer lemon. The salad was superb -- very bold flavors, but all melded together well. The risotto was also very good, but much more subtle, and I think there was some kind of cheese in it as well that's not listed in the description on the menu; it had a kind of cheesy tang to it. I liked it OK, but Xta wasn't all that happy with that course; I ended up giving her about a third of my salad, and eating about half the risotto...

Fish: I got striped bass with fingerling potatoes, shaved fennel, rock shrimp (can't you just imagine the shrimps with their mohawks and electric guitars?), roasted pearl onions, and grape confit (I think*). Xta got pan-seared sea scallops with spaghetti squash, cippolini onions, red currants, and slivered almonds. Both excellent, though I thought the shrimps were too overpoweringly shrimpy to go well with the rest of my dish -- you just had to eat them separately. (I've been developing more of a taste for shrimp in the last year or so; I used to kinda dislike it.) Xta was very happy with the scallops -- her favorite part of the meal.

Fowl: I had lemon-herb duck breast with duck hash, sweet-potato puree, unidentifiable (but tasty) greens, a couple roasted baby carrots and baby parsnips and green beans, and rhubarb compote. Xta had a guinea-hen breast with a "bisteeya" -- a phyllo pillow stuffed with ground dark meat from the guinea-hen, with Moroccan spices -- with lemon-honey yogurt sauce and sour cherries. In both cases, the sweet/tart accent from the fruit really made the dish. The duck was cooked perfectly (not greasy or dry, or tough/overdone or gummy/underdone; duck is tricky).

Dessert: I had a honey sponge cake with rhubarb-and-mixed-berry compote, mascarpone ice cream, and a plate of brûlée type caramel (glassy crisp) plunked on top of the ice cream. Xta had "Oven Roasted Strawberry-Basil Ice Cream" (exactly what it says on the menu; I'm not clear whether the ice cream was oven roasted, or just the strawberries, perhaps with the basil) with white-chocolate mousse, green tea granite (little crumbles of sorbet-like stuff), and diced strawberries. The menu also ends the description with "and Pistachio", and the ice cream was served as a square "slice", between two crunchy crusts, which did taste nutty, so maybe those were made from pistachios.

Mignardises (thanks to mickle for the correct term): I had told the waiter, when I went to the restroom, that it was Xta's bday, and he brought out a little plate of candies and mini-pastries after the main dessert, with a candle stuck into the little devil's-food cake, and "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate on the rim. The toffee almonds were amazing with the mocha I had as my dessert drink. And he gave Xta a little pineapple coffee-cake for breakfast tomorrow.

Neither of us ate anything substantial all day, and I'm glad about that -- I considered getting just three courses (only one main dish) but having the two slightly-smaller main courses worked fine, and I ended up full, but not uncomfortably full... If I'd actually eaten a large lunch or breakfast, I'd probably be regretting the meal right about now. In any case, it's not someplace I'd go often (too decadent, and expensive) but it's definitely worth visiting. And fasting beforehand! We'll probably go back in a year or two...

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