Friday, July 1, 2011

Review of Il Garage

A bit of Napa Valley in Stanton? In Stanton? That's right, in Stanton! Il Garage, the brainchild of Chef David Slay, is a must! Right next to his Park Ave restaurant known for its steaks, Il Garage is a pop-up restaurant that is only open for dinner and serves simple Italian fare.

A simple sign lets you know you are almost there.
The menu changes daily and many of the ingredients come from his garden right on the property.

As a pop-up restaurant, Il Garage is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm-9pm. As the name suggests, Il Garage was once the garage on property.. The open air restaurant feels like a bit of Napa Valley in the OC. Trust me when I tell you that you will find it hard to believe that Beach Blvd. is only a few feet away.

The restaurant is quiet and live music plays every night. This night we listened to classic jazz on keyboard.

The meal begins with a lovely bread basket with some Parmesan crackers, rosemary rolls and crostini brushed with olive oil and vinegar.

The service is outstanding. Our waitress Denise was warm and extremely knowledgeable about the menu and helped my friend with her selections. If the food was mediocre, it would be worth it to return to such wonderful service. But have no fear, the food was incredible, as were the drinks. We both started off with a tiziano, chilled grape juice and prosecco. Just a cool refreshing drink that got us ready to start going through the menu.

After debating what to start off with, we consulted with Denise, and decided to start with the fried green tomatoes parmigiano, baked with tomato sauce and mozzarella. The batter was light and the tomato sauce with the green tomatoes were perfect as can be. There is something about knowing that your tomatoes were picked just steps away from your table that just adds to the flavor and enjoyment of the meal.

We also got the squash blossoms, filled with ricotta, parmigiano and mint. The hint of mint was perfect with the ricotta and a nice unexpected pairing of flavors.

After our appetizers, we both went for a glass of Pinot Noir as we awaited our main course.

My friend went with the cannelloni which had an artichoke and goat cheese filling. The pasta was nice and light and the filling was perfectly blended, you would never know you were eating healthy. Il Garage makes all of its pasta fresh every single day.

I decided on the spinachi tagliatelle which was tossed with chopped shrimp, garlic, tomatoes and basil. Once again the pasta was amazing. That combined with the fresh shrimp and fresh vegetables made for a wonderful taste sensation.

We somehow managed to save room for dessert. My friend decided on the rum raisin bread pudding made fresh that day. It was warm and rich and you could taste the rum.

I went with an espresso and I failed by not knowing what it was called, but it was rich and creamy with espresso grounds mixed in and dark chocolate to taste. It was a perfect combination of flavors.

A fantastic meal with incredible service makes Il Garage a place where I will come back to time and time again. This is a perfect first date place, or a wonderful place to go with a group of friends to enjoy a wonderfully prepared meal.

il Garage
Where: 11200 Beach Blvd., Stanton
Info: 714-901-4400,
Hours: 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, (and Saturdays starting July 2)

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