The talent behind au courant speakeasy Garage, known for its thoughtful design and handcrafted drinks, fused kitchen and bar to create new cocktails and an innovative Italian apertivo-inspired menu for noshing. Chef Tim Lane, who lived and cooked in Italy for more than a decade, collaborated with lead bartender Jayson Black, ramping up the level of execution and producing ultra-modern interpretations of classics—food and drink—inspired by simple, fresh ingredients.
The new menu, modeled after the apertivo—a classic Italian ritual of drinks and small snacks—and inspired by Lane’s travels throughout Italy, has been curated to represent the full country and arranged from the north to south—a nod to the road trip, which dovetails with the theme at Garage, a smallish space nestled inside the parking garage of a former midcentury downtown bank.
Labeled “fuel,” the small plates are creative takes on classics, including vitello tonnato, typically thinly sliced cold veal topped with a tuna-flavored mayonnaise, but here raw ahi tuna with cured beef, fennel, sprouts, arugula, and pickled pepper atop puffed risotto; salmone mantecato, usually prepared with salt cod, but here with smoked salmon wrapped around salmon mousse; and prosciutto e melone, typically sliced cantaloupe and cured ham, but here summer melons with Parma ham, lime, extra virgin olive oil, and seedlip.
The kitchen, which strives to be zero waste, makes great efforts to prepare everything in-house, using local vendors, seasonal products, fresh ingredients, and handpicked herbs and vegetables.
A few new cocktails on the menu include the Coachwhip, a matcha-infused gin, milk wash, lemon, grapefruit, and blueberry grenadine—a fresh (and dark purple) take on the John Daily; the Summer Sonata, a herbaceous whisky sour made of rye, hibiscus, Thai basil, orange, lime, and simple; and the Watermark, tequila, watermelon-peppercorn shrub, lime, and honey served on crushed ice.
The GTO section of the beverage menu caters to the more adventurous drinker and features unexpected ingredients and techniques and incorporates Lane’s understanding of molecular gastronomy. The kitchen and bar work in tandem to offer one-of-a-kind cocktails. One of most complex new drinks is the Molto Buono, a unique interpretation of the Mai Tai made with Gra’it grappa and Cynar infused with island spices and washed in coconut oil with lime, pistachio orgeat, and Negroni “caviar.”
Garage is located at 503 Colorado in the McGarrah Jessee parking garage and is open Mon thru Sat from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. For more information, go to www.garagetx.com.