Restaurant Review: Garage Wine & Tap

Story and photos by Mark Sterling-Ogle, Jan. 15, 2015.

The trendy intersection of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road is home to Garage Wine & Tap, a great neighborhood gastropub. Once a fully functioning auto shop, this cozy eatery still boasts many ties to its car repair history as well as an ever-changing selection of handcrafted beers on tap and the eclectic wine list offer up many opportunities to try something unique.

Large glass-paned doors that once led to the shop’s bays now slide open to reveal an inviting patio. The original brick walls are adorned with funky tires, vintage signs and photos. Strategically placed televisions are visible from almost every seat during sporting events, but do not detract from the decor.

From the high-top tables surrounding the horseshoe bar, all the way to the booths in the back, I felt right at home. And the staff added a welcoming camaraderie to the ambiance.

The starter section of the menu – found under the “Ignition” header – boasts chicken wings ($10) in smoky barbecue, hot and sweet Thai chili drizzled with sweet soy and herb oil, Frank’s hot and XXX varieties. There’s also the option for honey truffle for a dollar more. The wings are always large and meaty and come plated 10 to an order. The truffle oil remerges with the deviled eggs ($6), which are topped with bacon bits.

Shrimp cocktail.

A jumbo shrimp cocktail ($13) is listed on the menu as giant poached and chilled white tiger shrimp with cocktail sauce and lemon. And, while they were quite large, I would not refer to them as neither jumbo nor giant. However, with five plump medium shrimp to an order, it is well worth the price. The cocktail sauce was deliciously piquant and the accompanying lemon half had been lightly crossed with grill marks, adding another bit of flair to the appetizer.

My hubby, a french fry fanatic, was pleased with the garage fries ($8), a large plate of crispy, beer-battered fries that came topped with parmesan cheese and a side of chipotle mayonnaise that packed just enough heat.

A wide selection of salads is also available. The traditional Caprese ($11) is composed of thick-sliced vine ripened tomatoes and fresh mozzarella topped with heirloom cherry tomatoes and basil, and drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and a perfect dusting of sea salt.

Spinach salad.

The spinach salad ($10) we shared was split without even asking. Loaded with sliced mushrooms, chopped hardboiled egg and plenty of apple cider bacon, even a half is quite large. The sweet and tangy vinaigrette coated the baby spinach with just the right amount to let all the flavors meld.

On several occasions, we’ve tried the flatbread pizzas and have never been disappointed. The Margherita ($10) with fire roasted tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella is a definite crowd pleaser. The meat ($12) is laden with house-made fennel sausage, pepperoni, prosciutto, apple cider bacon, and a blend of havarti, mozzarella and provolone. My personal favorite is the shrimp ($12) with a bounty of diced tiger shrimp, fire roasted tomatoes and garlic, feta, basil and lemon oil.

Sliders.

The “Burger & Sammie” section of the menu offers so many choices that it makes for difficult decision making, and with 13 options there is something for everyone. The garage burger ($13), with bacon and caramelized onions and your choice of cheese, and a patty melt ($12) on grilled marble rye compete for your attention alongside such classics as the BLT ($9) and Egg salad ($9) sandwiches.

One item that is still on my “must-try” list is the Snake River Farms Kobe beef frank ($8), served in a toasted Vienna bun with house-made horseradish-honey pickle relish, spicy whole grain mustard and chopped onion. There is the alternative to have it served with garage chili ($10), melted cheese, sour cream and chopped onion as well.

Herb marinated lamb chops.

All “Burgers & Sammies” are served with your choice of brew fries, steak fries, waffle fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings or a side salad. Any of these are also available à la carte ($5).

After 4 p.m., the “Under The Hood” entrees are available. My two favorites have been the bacon-wrapped tiger shrimp ($22), five tiger shrimp wrapped in apple cider bacon served over lemon risotto with aged balsamic vinegar and herb oil, as well as the herb-marinated lamb chops ($24), three Australian lamb chops with chimichurri, horseradish mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Garage fries.

Happy hour at the Garage runs every night from 4 to 7 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. until close, and includes $2 off glasses of wine, a $1 off draughts and $5-dollar well drinks, just for starters. There are also $5 snacks, including small plates of sliders, leg of lamb skewers that are doused with spiced olive oil, and other noshables that should make anyone happy.

There’s live music on Saturday night as well as a brunch menu both weekend days. Although I have yet to do a drive by for brunch, the Kahlua French toast ($8), griddled Kahlua-soaked challah bread topped with powdered sugar and maple syrup, is certainly my first choice.

If you find yourself in that neck of the woods and your tummy needs a tune-up, Garage Wine & Tap has a remedy for all makes and models.

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