Le Garage: Exploring the French Paradox
Hello again! After devouring all that food in Paris, I was seriously craving some French cuisine to recapture some of final fleeting moments of culinary pleasure. For this visit, I came with my fellow bon vivants, Tiff and Aileen. I attached the links to their respective Instagrams. Follow them to find cool places to eat/visit in NYC and beyond. The restaurant we'll be talking about today is Le Garage, which was graciously recommended by Tiff and Steph's cousin, Kevin. It's located in Bushwick, a strange mysterious territory within Brooklyn. It was my first time visiting this area and it felt like the next Williamsburg. I liked it! It's actually not too hard to get to from the city so I hope to visit more of the restaurants around this area.
Anyway, upon arriving, we were welcomed by a bright yellow building with a beautiful interior. There was a choice of either outdoor or indoor seating with a lot of natural light coming in through both the windows and the skylight. The entire meal took at least three hours as we indulged in our meals and sipped our drinks until the sun had set and the ambiance transitioned into a tranquil and intimate setting. With good food and great company, we discussed the greatest philosophical topics, including where to eat next and how the only thing I've gained in 2016 is weight (just kidding - not really).
Everything was very well put together. To start, I need to mention that they have a course menu available for $18. Yes, $18. You can choose if you want an appetizer and a main or a main and a dessert. How economical! The dishes were approachable and satisfying. Hopefully, I can come back soon to try the full menu.
Given the title of this post, it's only fair that I explain what the French Paradox is. It describes the strange observation that the French have relatively low rates of heart disease despite consuming vast amounts of saturated fats. Explanations for this paradox include the French people's consumption of wine as well as their naturally low-stress lifestyle. It just so happens that this dinner also included wine and a reduced amount of stress from being away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Thanks for reading!
Anyways, we got a bunch of stuff to share so here it is... First, we shared the Fried Panisse. I've never had these before but they seem to be a pretty big deal. They're basically Chickpea Fries, crisp on the outside but fluffy on the inside. Imagine french fries but creamier and more dense. The thing that really blew my mind was the sauce that came with it.
For a few minutes, I sat there quietly dipping my fork into the sauce trying to figure out what was in this ambrosial dip. I thought I could slow taste my way into figuring out what was in the sauce but I couldn't figure it out. Slow tasting is kind of like slow dancing, but instead it's slow tasting all the different flavors. It's a fun exercise for understanding and memorizing different flavors. But, alas, there was too much going on in this sauce that I couldn't even begin to guess. I ended up asking and the sauce was made with Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Cream, and a White Wine Reduction. I idolize this sauce.
The ladies got the same main, which was a Risotto with Green Beans, Basil Pesto, and Pine Nuts. It was super green so it looked like a salad with carbs. It was creamy, herbaceous, and fresh. Look at all that majestic arugula on top.
FUN FACT: Arugula is full of nutrients to support eye health. They are full of carotenoids, which can protect your eyes from blue light and other harmful sources of light. Carotenoids also help reduce the risk of developing AMD (age-related macular degeneration). Fruits and vegetables that are brighter in color (carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers) are also high in carotenoids.
Lastly, I want to talk about my dish. I got a Creamy Asparagus Velouté (see first picture at the top of this post). It sounds healthy until you realize what "Velouté" actually entails. A Velouté is a French term for soup that has been thickened with egg yolks, butter, and/or cream. Wow, that's a lot of dairy but not at all unusual for French cuisine. This dish was delightful and packed with flavor. The asparagus flavor was strong enough to balance with the Soft, Breaded Fried Egg and the Bacon bits but mild enough that the bitterness of the asparagus wasn't annoying.