I love to go to Brooklyn every once in a while, but the Bushwick neighborhood has been a little too far for me. That doesn’t mean that I would not try to visit any promising restaurant that I could probably have a hard time finding in Manhattan. When I heard that a mother-daughter team (chef Catherine Allswang, who previously cooked in San Francisco and Paris, is running the kitchen while her daughter Rachel, who studied interior design, is managing the restaurant) opened a nice, cozy French restaurant in Bushwick, I thought this place could have a really strong neighborhood gem potential. It took me and my dining companion 30 minutes on a Uber ride to get to this place from midtown Manhattan on a Sunday evening, and overall I had a lot to like about my dining experience at Le Garage.
The somewhat concise menu at Le Garage can be characterized as a modern take on French food. You see all sorts of reference to French classics, but there are unexpected twists along the way. I didn’t expect to see smoked haddock being used for rillette, but combined with the lemon confit, green apples and trout it was a delightful appetizer. Leeks vinaigrette with mimosa and fried capers was another delicious starter, with the absolutely fresh leeks working beautifully in my mouth for a refreshing sensation.
I had high expectations for organic chicken for two with lemongrass sweet potato puree (large chicken dishes are all the rage in the city these days, and at $35, the one at Le Garage is probably the most affordable one you can get), and while the meat was moist I felt the texture was not tender enough and the overall flavor was also not as memorable as I had hoped. On the other hand, I was a huge fan of pan-seared porgy that came with almond lemon relish, cherry tomato confiture and hand-mashed potatoes. Not only was the fish more or less perfectly cooked, but the way it interacted with the tomato confiture was a revelation, and I really wished the portion were slightly bigger since I finished half of the dish in like 30 seconds. Definitely one of the better seafood entrée dishes I’ve had recently. For dessert, we got lemon mille-feuille with almonds; I was looking for decadent, classic mille-feuille but it wasn’t quite what I had expected in term of flavor.
Getting a reservation at the restaurant doesn’t seem too hard, although the restaurant was nearly packed (mostly with young local Brooklynites) in the course of our meal. I absolutely loved the décor of the dining space (I can tell that it is owned by someone who studied interior design), with yellow wall and the kitchen behind that you can take a peek at and overall an inviting atmosphere that would make this place truly a neighborhood restaurant (frankly an overused terminology). There is full bar with cocktails named after French ladies and concise French-centric wine list. Le Garage is the type of restaurant I would love to have in my neighborhood. In terms of the overall atmosphere and the delightful French food coming from the kitchen, this is really a good place to visit if you live nearby or have a chance to visit Bushwick.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 7.5/10
Address: 157 Suydam Street, Brooklyn, NY 11221
Telephone: (347) 295-1700