The Dining Cryptographer: Yank Sing and Gary Danko (San Francisco, CA)

Is it Thursday already? I know it’s hard to leave the convention center, but the food there just sucks. Here are two alternatives.

Yank Sing is probably the best dim sum in San Francisco, and it’s walking distance from the Moscone Center. For the uninitiated, dim sum are Chinese appetizers. You sit down at your table, and wait for the roving carts filled with dim sum varieties to come by. You choose what you want on the spot, and the process repeats itself until you’re done. This is no fun alone; you want at least four people, so you can try a variety of things. The only problem is that sometimes the things you want don’t show up until you’re full. So ask for the scallion prawn—with bacon!—and the Peking duck if you don’t see it. And the soup dumplings, which are literally inside-out won ton soup. No kidding. Lunch only; no dinner. (101 Spear St., 415-781-1111,

Gary Danko is, by far, the most expensive restaurant I’m going to write about; figure at least $100 per person. It’s also the most exclusive. If you don’t have reservations already, you’re not going to get a table. But I have a trick for you. There are 11 seats at the bar, and they’re first-come, first-served. And, even better, you can order from the full menu. So if you’re alone or with one other person and don’t mind eating early—I’m talking to you, East Coasters—this is the best seat in San Francisco. The menu is full of delicious choices; there are no clunkers. Just pick three, four, or five courses, in any order, and then sit back and enjoy. Five appetizers? No problem. Four desserts? They’ll do it. I always order at least one seafood course and at least two game courses, but have your own fun. (800 N Point St., 415-749-2060,

Any recommendations for next year? Send them to

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.