Review: The Garage on Beck, Salt Lake City
There’s more than beer being served up at The Garage bar and grill in Salt Lake City. Despite an incredibly unappealing location, literally right next to a petroleum plant on the outskirts of town, The Garage on Beck serves up some very tasty grub worth experiencing. Booze are optional. With regular live music and a great outdoor patio area, I’m sure this is a jamming place in the summer. But our winter chilled visit was all about the food, and The Garage did not let us down.
It’s amazing how much deliciousness The Garage was able to put out of their tiny little kitchen. The 2-man kitchen staff did a great job of keeping up with everyone’s orders. The 2-man bar staff struggled a bit, however. But our food managed to arrive to our tables relatively hot anyway.
Deep Fried Mormon Funeral Potatoes at The Garage on Beck
Holy shit what a genius appetizer! If you’re not familiar with Mormon funeral potatoes (aptly named because they are a regular dish served up at just about every Mormon gathering with food, especially funerals), they are a very rich casserole dish made with hash browns, cream cheese, sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese, onions, and sometimes ham, all topped with crushed corn flakes. They are horribly unhealthy, but exceptionally delicious. Salt Lake, well, being Salt Lake, means that just about everyone who lives there is familiar with this traditional Utah dish. The boys at The Garage kick ‘em up a couple notches though by making the casserole with bacon, rolling scoops of it in a corn flake breading, and then “baptizing in hot oil” by deep frying to a perfect crunchy golden brown. Awesome! A perfect creation of bad health and high flavor.
The Garage Makes one Hell of a Wedge Salad
I’ve eaten many a wedge salad in my day, but The Garage’s version is very likely the best I’ve ever had. It’s made with the traditional chunk of iceberg lettuce, fried bacon, and bleu cheese crumbles, but the Garage throws sweet sliced dates, crunchy antioxidant-rich pumpkin seeds, and a very nice citrus balsamic vinaigrette on it. The sweet and salty contrast is amazing, and the clean citrus flavor balances everything out on the tongue. It is fantastic! I’m so glad that we ordered this wonderful little surprise.
The Garage Burger is one Tasty Burger
OK, as far as burgers go, The Garage Burger is pretty good. There are better burgers out there, but this one gets kuddos for originality. The Garage started with a hand-pressed beef patty, which was a little tough to me, but the fantastic seasoning compensated. It was topped with a very tasty whiskey salami, which was thick chunk style rather than traditional thin sliced. The thick chunks meant that you would get a good mouthful of salami almost equal to burger in every bite. Great experience. The buns were spread with herb mayo and smoked tomato jam. That jam was killer! The intense sweetness was a bit off putting at first, but as I chewed, the burger, salami, and sweet tomato jam all came together in a harmony of deliciousness. This is one I would order again.
The fries served along side looked good but were only mediocre at best. They didn’t have hardly any seasoning on them. Hard to complain about deep-fried potatoes though.
Chicken and Waffles in Salt Lake City
Now this is where things get really interesting. For a bar to serve up chicken and waffles seems very abnormal to me. But The Garage pulled if off pretty well. Sadie loved this dish and thought everything about it was perfect. Unfortunately, my palate did not feel the same. The chicken was perfectly cooked and was very moist and tender inside. However, the breading lacked seasoning and seemed overcooked to the point of almost having a burnt flavor. But it had a great crunch to it that was enjoyable.
The waffles had an amazing caramelized crunch to them. Make no mistake, there is a lot of sugar in that batter to produce such a crunch. But I couldn’t get past the intense beer flavor in them. I’m sure the beer contributed to the caramelization somehow, but to me, the flavor completely overpowered everything else. But when eaten with the chicken, it balanced out fairly well, so I suppose that’s what they were going for. The chicken and beer waffle combo worked much better with some added maple syrup. Gutsy dish for a bar, but I don’t think I would order it again on my own.
Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie at The Garage
I love me some chicken pot pie, so it came as no surprise to find myself ordering this dish. The menu said, “Our house-made pastry crust filled with chicken, mixed veggies, and a whole lotta love.” Sounded too good to pass up.
The pastry crust was awesome. It was thick, crisp, flaky, buttery, and had a great chew to it that was perfect for a pot pie. It was just plain delicious. It was laid across a ramekin filled with the pot pie filling. The filling was good, but was very basic. It had a heavy mushroom flavor at first, but a great all-around balanced after taste. My co-tasters said that it had a strong anise taste, but I didn’t pick up on that at all. Could have been my cold preventing it though.
My one negative with the pie was that the filling was far too thick. Pot pies should be more of a creamy thick gravy, but this was more like a paste. That being said, I found the dish oddly addictive despite its poor execution and relatively bland flavors. I think that’s because it tasted exactly like something grandma would have made. When visiting The Garage, order a pot pie and chill with grams for a bit!
The pie came with choice of side. I chose the roasted Brussels sprouts, which were a huge disaster. They were way overcooked. Just look at the poor things! Black, dried, and no good.
All in all, The Garage on Beck is a great dining option in an environment not typical of Salt Lake. Fun place with a great vibe. Well worth a visit if over 21.