Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Le Garage

Our night at Le Garage turned out to be quite an adventure. First, we got to cross the picturesque Golden Gate Bridge to travel from San Francisco to Sausalito. Then as we approached Sausalito, our Google maps directions took us onto a beaten path of dark and windy roads and into a sketchy boat harbor. With a phone call and the help of a Frenchman (with a thick French accent) from the restaurant, we were able to locate the dimly lit, unmarked restaurant with a garage door opening. I couldn't help but wonder what were we getting ourselves into. The area felt as though a murderer might be lurking out behind the garbage bin and the unmarked building left us feeling suspicious...

But once we were inside, elegance and edge blended seamlessly and the sight of people happily enjoying their food eased our minds. When I think of a French restaurant, I think expensive food and snooty waiters. At Le Garage, the atmosphere is fun, yet classy. The waitress wearing a auto-mechanic uniform, speaks to you with a classy French accent, as she offers her knowledge of French wine and cuisine. The d├ęcor is edgy, with exposed ceilings and unfinished railings, and yet the classy flower arrangement doesn’t look all that out of place.

Chefs Bruno Denis and Olivier Souestre both are natives of France, who are committed to serving simple French bitstro food in a relaxed atmosphere. At Le Garage, the chef takes special care to use local, organic, and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. The wine list is mostly French wines, but also includes some California wines as well.

To start off, we had black mission figs stuffed with Fourme d’ambert (similar to bleu cheese), arugula, dried cherries, pistachios, and a pomegranate vinaigrette. I had always wanted to taste fresh figs, since they’re a rare find in Hawaii. I was not disappointed; this dish was delicious! Sweet figs, creamy and slightly bitter cheese, spicy arugula, tart cherries, and crunchy pistachios—varying elements coming together to create one great salad.

We also had Dungeness Crab Stuffed Squash Blossoms, fried golden brown and swimming in a savory tomato basil coulis. The delicate squash blossoms were preserved in the lightly crispy coating and the rich crab flavor permeated the dish.

I ordered one of the recommended dishes, the Bouillabaisse. Its a traditional fish stew with mussles, clams, red potatoes, and white fish, served with crispy baguettes and Rouille (a savory garlic, saffron and mayonnaise spread). The broth was nice and rich, perfect for dipping the baguettes into.

The Loch Duart Salmon was served with baby leeks, mini charm tomato confit, parsnip chips and a kalamata olive vinaigrette. Each of the ingredients offered its unique flavors which paired to create one delicious bite.

The Duck Confit was expertly prepared with an organic burgundy reduction, French fingerling potatoes, and garnished with baby zucchini and parsnips. The duck melted in your mouth as the intensified flavors of the burgundy coated your palate.

The Ravioles de Royans was quite an interesting surprise. Tiny little purses of French ravioli filled with French cheese, smothered in an artichoke pesto. The waitress shared that these tender bites of pasta are imported from France. The pasta was topped off with Massachusetts Dayboat Scallops and oven roasted tomatoes, all drizzled with a lithe olives confit.

We all shared an order of fries with roasted garlic aioli.

For a bit of French desserts, we decided to share two. The first was an Organic Cabernet poached pear served with spiced panna cotta.

The other was Fondant au Chocolate, a molten chocolate cake suffed with raspberries and topped off with fresh whipped cream and a raspberry coulis. The restaurant also served complimentary glasses of dessert wine with our dessert.

So what started off to be a suspicious and scary restaurant, turned out to be a French delight! If you’re not up trekking through the dark and scary boat harbor, try this place for lunch or weekend brunch!

Le Garage
85 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 109
Sausalit, CA 94695


LesliAnn said...

what an adventure! cant wait to see more!!! haha, i thought it was funny that you chose "french" fries at a french restaurant.

OkiHwn said...

Oooh, that bouillabaisse looks so good!