This review contains crabbiness and cheerfulness in about the same ratio. Garage is one of the neatest places I've ever stepped into: the location, art and decor make it worth my time. The old garage on Market street has been turned into a restaurant specializing in interesting pizzas and oysters, with a fully equipped bar and an art installation out front. The two cars being pushed together slowly is a good metaphor for the difficulty I had balancing my pocketbook and my taste buds at Garage.
We started off the evening with some rolled oysters. It was, to my shame, the first oyster I've ever had, and it will not be the last. The two fat oysters came out hot and rolled in buttery smashed up crackers, with a orange spicy sauce I did not find palatable. The oysters were pleasantly meaty, with an added crunchiness, and they were not over-salted. So far so good--we decided to be extravagant and order two pizzas for two people. The butternut squash pizza was by far the most interesting pie I have ever eaten. Pureed butternut squash on that thin, charred crust, with feta cheese, purple onions and toasted walnuts presented a fascinating expansion of flavors in my mouth. I've never had nuts on a pizza before, but the dark oily walnut taste coincided very well with the mild goat cheese. The Brussels sprout and bacon pizza was also good, though the bacon overwhelmed the rest of the tastes. I was really pleased with crust, more a flatbread type than the bready, greasy kind. You can really tell that these pizzas are oven roasted--the aftertaste of a bite is more smoky and satisfying.
Now for the crabby bit: Garage is rather expensive, and I left a little hungry. The pizzas are too small and too thin to justify the prices. The tastes are wonderful, and the sheer coolness of the building is enough to make me visit once, but with prices like that, I might have to wait a few months to visit again. Restaurants often rely on repeat customers to make their business prosper, and the pricing at Garage might hinder that. Also, (and I don't know if this was par for the course or if we were simply unlucky) our waitress was WRETCHED. I gave her the smallest tip I have ever given a waitress (12%) because she was so absent as to be downright rude. I waited half an hour to get a refill on my water, and another twenty minutes after our meal was done for the check, and when I pay fifty dollars for a meal I expect better service. Having gotten that out of my system, I will certainly be visiting Garage again once it gets a bit warmer and they can open up those Garage doors. I will definitely be eating more oysters next time!
Photos: Lauren O'Neil