Let me count the ways.
For starters, there’s the astonishing Crispy Farm Egg you do at your award-winning restaurant near San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. Gently cracking the golden orb was like opening a Fabergé egg to discover its treasures. In this case, a bright runny yolk that mixed and mingled deliciously with the creamy white polenta, Royal Trumpet mushrooms, wisps of frisee and pancetta on the plate.
Way #3: The off-the-charts yummy Herb Crusted Lamb Loin -- scarlet-hearted, glistening with natural juices, and with a delicate rim of crushed herbs adding flavor and texture. (Photo from TasteTests.com.)
Way #4: The equally off-the-charts Hazelnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin, with a little puddle of braised pork cheeks on the side. Totally swoon-worthy. (Squash puree, apples, chestnuts and Brussels sprouts on the side make this the quintessential autumn/winter stunner.)
And, oh, yes, that pickled beet salad of yours. Anyone can toss a few beets into garden greenery and anoint it all with walnut vinaigrette. But only you nestle a quivering goat cheese panna cotta into the scene and scatter watercress clusters for a peppery punch.
The guy has won the James Beard Award for Best Chef California and been nominated by that organization for Outstanding Chef of the Year. His restaurant won the James Beard Best New Restaurant Award the year after its opening. He captured Esquire’s Best New Restaurant Award for an earlier restaurant.
Yet he remains a down-to-earth gentleman, devoted to being in his kitchen, and giving his guests the best possible dining experience every evening. That means maximum flavors in stunningly simple presentations. An elegant but unfussy setting. Flawless service -- professional yet accessible. And remarkable value -- $73 for three courses, $107 for five courses. (Photo from BonAppetit magazine.)
Call me crazy. But I like to walk out of a restaurant gushing about the delicious food and the fun of dining in a comfy place with people I like, not bragging about how much money I just spent and how stuffed I am after 12 or 14 courses.
I guess that’s another reason I love thee, Gary Danko. You get it.