Optimistically Cautious

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Closer to the Bottom: Garage Burger Bar

Mack and I headed to Garage Burger Bar (10242-106 Street) for a late lunch this afternoon. I had assumed good things about Garage from its four year streak in claiming Vue Weekly's vote for "Best Burger" in its annual Golden Fork Awards. As such, I was expecting burger-equivalent fireworks when they received top honors again just last week.

We arrived at the restaurant just after four, greeted by a waitress relieved to be relinquished from her boredom - it turns out we were the first customers since the lunch rush ended several hours before. Needless to say, this wasn't a positive initial impression.

It was fairly nice out (though it drizzled a bit later on), so we decided to sit out on their small enclosed patio. The plastic lawn chairs weren't the most comfortable furniture I'd ever encountered, but they served their purpose. The interior of the dining room itself (a refurbished garage - hence the name) was in a word, "dingy," but something I think wouldn't be as noticeable with a larger crowd present. The waitress said that Garage had been around for over fifteen years, and admittedly, it showed.

We perused the menu, and Mack commented that he liked the fact that all burgers with the exception of one were priced equally at $5.99. Fries, however, had to be ordered separately ($1.79). I chose the Bacon(!) Mozza Burger (self explanatory), while Mack was delighted to verbalize his selection of the Dana Burger (cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, BBQ sauce).

The food, as expected, arrived in an expedient fashion. We were both disappointed when we realized the patties weren't made from fresh ground beef and wondered how an establishment could have garnered such acclaim from frozen meat. Secondly, I thought the fries tasted as if they had been refried from the batch left over from the lunch crowd.

While the service was good, prices reasonable, and patio pleasant, I can't say Garage deserved its Golden Fork. At least not until they rehaul their burgers.

Restaurant exterior

Interior

Bacon Mozza Burger

Dana Burger

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2 Comments:

Blogger Parsons said...

Well now you done it ... you caused a rebuttel on behalf of Judith, Jaret and I!

We love Garage Burger. Love! Way better then the overpriced Delux burger bar. Will Delux be there 10 years from now? Hardly. No - Garage doesnt have the fancy chairs or bar stools, but it will be there 10 years from now doign what they do now - serving food for a great price in a setting that draws all ages.

Now with Garage ... you should have ordered the Mushroom Burger with the side order of gravy. The prices are great (not overpriced) and the burgers are hand made every morning - we know the guy and he does it first thing in the morning and he has been doing it for the past 10 years. Not to say that we havent had a bad burger there - it happens, but 90% of the time - perfect!

Just a sec - I have to hear the next complaint ...

Oh yes ...

The place is a converted garage - that is its niche - it will not have an aquarium in the corner nor black lighting. Its allure is that it is a step up from a dive.

A dive that people have to specifically must go to as there is no store around that would bring in the foot traffic THUS there will not be a large crowd at 4pm in the afternoon. Go at lunch or supper - heck go after supper and you will have the Drag queens before they head to the bar - now thats ambience.

Thankfully Garage doesn't put thier fries in a shopping cart - cute for a few seconds but then loses its allure quite frankly when its hard to reach into PLUS you get the bill - and one doesnt want to pay extra for food placement.

Grrr ... ok I am only typing now and listening to the tribunal.

Well that should liven up discussion! :)

May 21, 2007 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Gravitas said...

After writing innumerable restaurant reviews, I think I'm surprised that it took this long to touch a nerve - I feel like I insulted someone's mother! That said, I know that I jump on the defensive when "my" Blue Plate Diner is criticized in any way.

So, to address the comments - I like Delux as much as the next person, but I think you're mistaken with your assumption that I prefer my burgers upscale and fries in a shopping cart. The brilliance in having options for eating out is that no matter what atmosphere you crave, there will be a restaurant, from dive bar to fine dining, that will match your appetite and desired ambiance.

As I indicated in my review - I said the prices at Garage are reasonable, and that a larger crowd would have certainly helped the overall feel of the restaurant. I will not, however, digress from my disappointment in the poor quality of their food that day. It may have been an "off" shift, but whatever the reason, my meal was simply not good.

I might go back, I might not, but in any case, I thank you for your dialogue - it's nice to know people are reading!

May 22, 2007 at 9:07 PM  

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