Thursday, November 13, 2014

Garage Bar and Grill, 819 Ottawa Avenue NW ~ 11/12/14

This reincarnation of the old Teazers Bar opened in mid-October and it is a cool spot.
The basic structure remains the same and the new owner will continue the summer block party tradition. But it's brighter now when you walk in. Booths are still located along the wall on the left and large metal tables for four run through the middle. These five over-sized metal-topped tables take up so much space and seat only four people but we snagged one up front.
The bar still stands to the right, with twelve seats against the wall that divides the main dining area from the side room, which contains a pool table, more seating, and a dance floor. We liked the rustic yet modern ambiance of the place. We also liked the mix of customers ~ working class gents, young and old professionals, the landlords, and the restaurant owner.
               The garage decor is interesting, unique, and not overdone.
But on to the food. The menu is small and creative. They are not trying to be all things to all people and do boast that everything is made from scratch, nothing ever frozen, and no item over $10.00. Great concept. We started with Meatball Bearings. And get used to menu items having auto garage references. If that bothers you, you won't be happy here :-) The meatballs were homemade as was the accompanying marinara sauce. Only a few ingredients were listed (beef, veal, ricotta) and the dish arrived topped with green onions and cheese. Without the sauce, the meatballs would have been approaching dry but with the sauce it was great. Also very notable was the fact that they were not overly salty, as they are in so many restaurants.

The Radiator Grille sandwich (American, Swiss, & Provolone cheeses) can be upgraded to a Cadillac Grille by adding bacon and egg for $2.00 more. Matt couldn't resist and enjoyed its butter-soaked sourdough bread deliciousness.
It was somewhat unseasoned but was brought to perfection by adding a little salt and pepper. We appreciate so much the absence of saltiness in food served in restaurants, as salt frequently covers up poorly prepared, bad food.

When we visited Teazers back in 2009, we discovered they were known for their French Dip sandwich so that's what I ordered. It was fitting to try the current version here in the Garage, the Flathead French Dip.
The ample serving of au jus was great but when I picked up the roll it was soft and soggy, not crispy and toasted as advertised. That was disappointing but the onion jam, provolone, and roast beef was flavorful and needed no additional seasoning. The fries on both of our plates were over cooked so again, we were a little disappointed. But we weren't disappointed by our service. It was great in every way.

There are a few TVs in both rooms and a 1980s soundtrack was playing. The room was loud during our lunch but mainly due to the people behind us. DJs are featured on the weekends, along with a Bloody Mary Sunday, and the Garage also has a selection of craft beers.
This place is definitely worth a visit and we'll be back, not for the DJs but to try more food and maybe a Bloody Mary. Take note, Grand Rapids ~ we have another restaurant option for Sunday! And this one has a working garage door.
Back in 2009, when we timidly started this blog, we didn't take pictures but here is our brief  review from our Teazers visit. Garage Bar & Grill is a nice conversion of an old biker bar in a building built in 1941.

Teazers 11/24/09 

 Grand Rapids Garage Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon