As my long term readers will know we live in the French quarter of St Boniface, it is an area filled with the heady smells of fresh bread being baked in the morning and the sounds of ringing church bells keeping time in the afternoon. It is also a place where you can expect to be greeted en Français before a word of English is spoken.
So to many an Anglophone, particularly those visiting from out of town, the French Quarter can be a confusing and intimidating place. But rest assured travellers English is still readily spoken here even in the most hard-core French establishments.
One fine example of this is Le Garage Café located at 166 Provencher Blvd in the heart of the district. This particular evening feeling ravenously hungry and looking for somewhere close to home Darlene and I literally just pulled over on a whim and walked inside. Having never been to Le Garage before we were greeted by a friendly server almost instantly who showed us to an awaiting table.
The place was not at all what I expected. The long and somewhat narrow building caters to live music during the week and a small stage graces the rear of the room. Paintings of blues and jazz greats lined the muted pastel walls; I was set instantly at ease. A round of drinks became the first order of business and I was delighted to find out that local brewer Half Pints beer was featured on tap. For dinner I selected a simple but hearty bowl of Jambalaya and Dar ordered a plate of nacho chips with a side of dry roasted ribs.
After a short wait the food arrived accompanied by another round of Half Pints local draught beer. The Jambalaya was fresh and steaming hot, the aromatic Cajun spices daring me to take that first bite. The andouille sausage mixed well with the fresh mussels and tender chicken. To be fair it is a spicy dish and as such may not be for everyone’s palate, but I found the hearty mix of rice, sauce and meat to be a perfect match for my hungry belly.
While I feasted on my bowl of Cajun happiness Darlene found her two small starters to be just what she was looking for as well. A mound of fresh tortilla chips accompanied by a bowl of layered dip featuring sour cream, tomato salsa, cheese and meat topped with a pile of hot peppers and black olives looked appetizing enough. Also her dry roasted ribs came hot and tender. Not overcooked and tough as in some establishments. The addition of a little fresh salt and pepper made them some of the best we have had in the city.
For dessert I asked for and was brought a nice cup of properly strong French coffee, as Darlene tucked into a petite apple crisp topped with vanilla ice cream.
Overall I would call this a light dining establishment; it is not the overblown white tablecloth fine dining experience. Instead it’s very laid back and casual, the light fare and live music could on any given Friday night transport you out of your worries and give a weary worker the break they deserve for a good evening out in the quarter.