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Le Garage

Author: Julie Fadda
July, 2010 Issue

Le Garage
85 Liberty Ship Way, Ste. 109
(415) 332-5625
French Bistro
Breakfast daily; lunch weekdays; dinner Mon.-Sat.;
brunch Sat.-Sun.
Entrées (dinner): $15-$29
Extensive wine list
For a place that’s definitely off the beaten path, Le Garage was a packed house when we visited on a recent Tuesday evening. Situated with a view of the Schoonmaker Point Marina, its industrial décor (complete with roll-up, glass-paned “garage” doors on two walls, which both lead to outdoor seating), great ambiance and chef/co-owner (with Bruno Denis) Olivier Souvestre’s fantastic French menu. it’s had quite the pull since it opened in 2008.

The menu offers mostly small plates meant to be shared. Our meal started with aperitifs (I had a refreshing Lillet; about half of the items on the wine list are French) and the filet mignon beef tartare, which was mixed with shallots, parsley, capers and ground mustard, with grilled croutons and a quail egg on top (which came in its spotted shell). The generous portion was very fresh, earthy and was plenty for two or more to share.

Next came Dungeness crab-stuffed squash blossoms, which were packed with fresh crab then lightly battered and fried to a golden crisp exterior, complemented with a tomato basil concasse, which added a hint of sweet to the otherwise savory and surprisingly light dish.

There are two P.E.I. mussels preparations available, and we chose the “o bleu,” which came with a broth made with bleu d’auvergne cheese, crème fraîche, shallots, garlic and white wine. The plump and perfect mussels were piled high in this unusual, distinct and delicious dish. A Syrah/Grenache blend matched it well. Dipping our bread in the broth was also a delight. A side of fresh-cut kennebec fries were served with a mild aioli.

For entrées, we first had Alaskan halibut with crayfish nage, green romano beans, organic heirloom tomato ragout and petite hearts on fire greens. The halibut was pan seared golden with a tender interior that had a buttery flavor and texture, but the fish’s fresh flavor is what stood out the most. Of all the dishes we tried, nothing was over-sauced or seasoned, and the natural flavors of the ingredients always played the starring role.

Our second entrée was the duck confit, which fell off the bone it was so tender, and came with organic faro grain, spicy bits of chorizo, chunks of crispin apples, apriums (pluots), frisee and a flavorful Brooks cherry gastrique. It was well paired with a Bordeaux Cabernet/Merlot blend.

Dessert was wonderful. First came a fresh pineapple and mango carpaccio topped with raw and roasted strips of coconut and a scoop of coconut sorbet; paired with a Sauternes, it was likely my favorite pairing of the evening. We also had the decadent fondant au chocolate, which was molten chocolate cake (perfect) with a warm ganache center and fresh whipped cream, also very well paired with a silky glass of Banyuls (French-style port).



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