Sweet & Sour

The Garage does delectable pub food

The Garage is a gem — your favorite neighborhood bar nowhere near your neighborhood.  A comfortable spot in an industrial wasteland (located at 1199 Beck St.); it’s a playground, family room, restaurant and bar. Sour took his 80-year-old Mormon parents who fit in just as well as the hipsters and bikers.  Ambiance aside, the other treat is the reasonable prices. Nothing is more than $10, and every dollar saved on food is another dollar that can go on your bar tab!

Sweet: From Borax soap to the game Cornhole, it’s a place for everyone. I’d even say Woody and Sam Malone have nothing on this place.

Sour:  Sorry, I drifted off.  Did you say something about woodies and cornholes?

Sweet:   I was referring to the backyard game, Cornhole, and also making a Cheers reference.

Sour:   Cheers?  Are you 80?

The service is amazing, highlighted by Angelique, her honest smile and attention to detail is exceeded only by her willingness to put up with our drunken banter, some of which may have been penis-centric. A lot of the ambiance at The Garage is provided by the effervescent personalities of co-owners Marsha and Bob who banter with patrons like we’re all old friends.

SOUR: And it would be a disservice to our readers not mention the silver fox that Bob is; he’s a kind gentleman, with the chiseled body of a rugby player and the carved face of a Santa Barbara surfer.

So, how’s the food?  It fits the place perfectly. That is to say it’s not gastro-pub pretentious, but neither is it the greasy gut bomb that you’d order at 1 a.m. to soak up that belly full of appletinis.  It’s comfortable and honest, like the bar itself.

SOUR: Gays invented appeltinis, and we stopped drinking those 10 years ago.

The Garage serves brunch on weekends from 11-3 a.m. One of our favorites was the breakfast sandwich — a pillowy delight of honey ham, melted cheese with an over easy egg on a potato roll. It melted in my mouth like breakfast cotton candy.  Also on the brunch menu are the excellent huevos rancheros, highlighted by the chili verde black beans. Another excellent breakfast option is the Bloody Mary Chop Steak, essentially a hamburger steak on rustic bread topped with the food equivalent of a bloody mary – full of horseradish and tomato.

On the lunch and dinner menu, much has been made of the fried chicken, served either by itself or on a waffle.  We found the chicken breading to be well-spiced and full of promise, but unfortunately, the preparation was inconsistent, often leaving the crust overdone and the chicken dry.

Sour: Another item I don’t think lives up to the reputation is the Fried Mormon Funeral Potatoes. I’ve had friends and family that think these fried balls of potatoes and cheese are a terrific hipster take on the traditional ward house casserole. My impression was that a little garlic, a little celery or even blue cheese would have gone a long way.

Sweet: I think that’s the point!  There’s something to be said for taking fatty, classic comfort food, and saying,  ”Here’s the Mormon treat you hate to love, and we’re going to batter and deep fry that bastard!  I enjoyed the sinful flavor.”

The food at The Garage is great. For instance, the burger is one of the best in the valley.  The potato bun,  fresh ground meat,  and jalapeño dijon  make for an amazing burger. Other recommended burger varieties include the Black and Blue, the Spicy Firehouse and the Tangy Cowboy.  But of special note is the veggie burger — a blend of rice, black beans, squash and mushrooms. It’s moist, meaty and flavorful.

In essence, The Garage is an amazing bar with a food menu that fits it’s character perfectly. Fun, delicious, but not pretentious, and easy like Sunday morning.

 Sour: Are you 80?

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