Saturday, December 3, 2011

What if you could have a bit of Beirut in your garage? - Garage Beirut

Garage Beirut is a small and unconventional Lebanese restaurant situated on Mackay, which is apparently pronounced 'Mac-Eye' and not 'Mac-A'. Eeesh. Tom-eh-toes Tom-ah-toes. Anyway. I've only the typical fast-food Lebanese food, like the shish taouks, shawarmas and falafels, but I've never been to a Lebanese restaurant before. Having read some good reviews on Garage Beirut, I was eager to try this place out.

Ugh... exams are approaching. I just got out of a slew of projects and am now heading on a head-on collision route towards exams. But hey, I can still fit in a bit of eating in between!

Accessibility - Grade: A
It's about a 5 minute walk from Guy-Concordia metro, Guy exit.

Service - Grade: B+
There was only one waitress working that night, and she was very nice and accommodating. She seemed a little flustered at times, but it never showed when she interacted with us. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience on the service front.

Food - Grade: B

 These are the complimentary olives given before the meal. They also give you a batch of pita with it. The olives were pretty good, but there wasn't anything particularly outstanding about them. Just plain, regular olives. The pita were definitely store-bought not fresh-made. Again, pretty ordinary.

This is the hummus that came with our mixed grill. I've never had hummus with olive oil, but it went really well with the pita. The hummus was smooth and flavourful, but didn't have a strong garlic taste. They probably used the residual oil from the pickled olives instead of olive oil, since the olive frangrance was very bold.

Baba Ganouj
 My vegetarian friend ordered the baba ganouj, not really knowing what it was. I suppose the waitress tried to warn us that it wasn't really a meal, but we didn't quite get the message. Anyhow, the baba ganouj is a dip that comprises of cooked eggplants mixed with tahini (sesame paste), garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Between the hummus and the baba ganouj, I think I prefer the hummus. The baba ganouj is milder in taste, and has a subtle sweetness to it from the sesame paste. But after having the hummus, it seemed a bit bland in comparison.

Since the baba ganouj was not really a meal in itself, my friend also ordered the moussaka, which the waitress described as being a cold vegetable stew. I only had a small taste of it, and I thought it was okay. It was tangy from the tomatoes, but had a hint of sweetness and an added zest from the garlic. Nice, but probably not something I would order again.

Mixed Grill
 We had a mixed grill for four people, which consists of brochettes of grilled lamb, chicken and kafta as well as some grilled vegetables and some pickles, all sitting on a large pita slathered in a tomato sauce. To be honest, with its small and unimpressive menu, I was wondering what made Garage Beirut so special. I found the answer in the grilled meats. Well-seasoned and juicy hunks of meat grilled to tender perfection; what's not to love? The kafta (which are kind of like Lebanese sausages made from ground beef mixed with herbs and spices) and the lamb were particularly tasty.

Another noteworthy item is the garlic sauce, which had a nice fluffy texture to it. Talk about bold. It might have just been me, but I thought my tongue tingled from then intensity of the garlic on my first bite. And as a result, not even a handful of mints were able to kill my garlic breath after the meal... Anyway, despite the fact that the menu says that there are grilled vegetables, you only really get some tomatoes, half an onion and some pickled veggies. This platter is enough to feed four hungry girls, but I'm skeptical as to whether it would be enough for four guys, or even a co-ed group. 

Price - $-$$
Prices really depend on what you order. The mixed grill platter for four is a steal, since it's only $38, so it comes up to around $10 per person with tax and all. If you order just a regular grill platter, prices can go up to around $15.

Final Grade: B
There were a couple of things I found interesting about Garage Beirut. For one, they don't serve the typical items you would come to expect from a Lebanese restaurant. Two (sort of related to One), they serve regular fries as a side instead of the seasoned, cubed potatoes. Three, they have a very small menu that isn't vegetarian-friendly. Still, if you're craving grilled meats and don't feel like paying a fortune, Garage Beirut is the place to go.

And now, this is the place where I will go.

To the students out there, good luck with your exams! To everyone else, happy eatings! :)

Garage Beirut
1238 Rue Mackay, Montreal
Garage Beirut Cuisine Libanaise on Urbanspoon


  1. I predictably got a brochette pita sandwich here. It was definitely the best I've had in a long time but at $7 it was overpriced given that the brochette was pretty thin and the only other ingredients in the pita sandwich were a pickle and hummous.

  2. @filmbeats

    Yeah, my friend had the shish taouk, and she complained that there wasn't enough ingredients too. Also, $7 is pretty steep for just a sandwich.

    Try the grilled meat platter next time! It's definitely worth it. :)