163 Hope Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 388-4626

I both liked, and was disappointed by, Hope Garage. Housed in what appears to have been a renovated Williamsburg Jiffy Lube, Hope Garage has everything I'd want in a neighborhood restaurant while not really pulling off the follow through. Seth and I showed up here on a relatively early Saturday evening and Hope Garage was almost deserted. Maybe it fills up by evening, but it certainly hadn't been packing them in while we were there. 

We ordered a some cocktails off their short but sweet list of house concoctions. Sweet is the operative word. If you like margaritas, you'd like these. If you prefer your drinks a little hard and bitter, skip this list and ask for a sazerac. The beer list is made up of hipster-chic microbrews. I'd have more to say about it, except that they were out of almost everything that day. 

The interior is airy and well lit. With twenty foot ceiling, it's anything but claustrophobic. Whether you like the motorcycle demon murals is a matter of personal taste. I kinda liked it. It was fun. But it'll probably be passe twenty minutes from now. Everyone we met who worked there was very nice and super friendly. No complaints there at all. The menu is straight up American. If you have a friend from central Kansas coming into town and they're afeared of anything with them furrin spices in it, take 'em here. Hence, I found the few dishes we tried to be on the bland side. That's not t say that I wouldn't come back to try something else, but I can't say that my eyes rolled into my head in orgasmic delight with each bite. 

Seth skipped ordering an appetizer despite my objections. "There's just nothing that interests me", he explained. Well, when your choices include fish sticks, chicken wings, mac and cheese... I could understand why. The most interesting appetizer was the Smoked Bacon Wrapped Dates and Olives Stuffed with Almonds. I ordered it. Meh. Ward III's bacon wrapped dates this was not. And I can't get behind the bacon wrapped almond olives. I ate them because I paid for them, but that's about where it ended. 

Seth's entree was the Pan Seared Salmon with lemon butter sauce, julienned vegetables, "fine herbs"(whatever that is) and garlic. The salmon was had the perfect crust and the perfect tenderness. It should have been the standard by which other salmon is judged. Alas, it was tasteless, and julienned bland vegetables as a side didn't help. I didn't fare much better, frankly. I tried the Roast Pork Chop with apple rosemary puree, cheesy fried polenta, and smoked greens. The pork chop was too tough for its own good and this fact was driven home because I wasn't given a sharp knife to cut it with. The greens were the most flavorful thing on the plate. Although the salmon was bland, it had nothing on my pork chop. After the first bite, I had hopes that the pork's accompaniments would come to the rescue. But who was I kidding? Polenta is air in solid form and the apple sauce that the chop sat in was ineffectual in part because there was so little of it and in part because it, too, was almost tasteless. 

Frownie face emoticon.

So what can I say? I enjoyed Hope Garage. It had a good space and friendly staff. Spot on atmosphere. But the food was just so boring. Maybe some salt?

Cocktails are $11, beers average $8, appetizers average $10, and entrees average $18.

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