Expect an open-air courtyard and some wine when you pull up to the garage

by J.J. O'Donoghue

Special To The Japan Times

Even though it’s called Garage, this eatery is probably better described as a shack. On weekdays, during lunch and after work, the clientele is mostly drawn from the surrounding offices, but on weekends the crowd is not as uniform.

A small open-air courtyard where wine casks have been turned into tables dominates the entrance. Just beyond is the wine cellar — actually it’s just a room, but feel free to take a walk around and peruse the substantial collection. Most of the wines are priced between ¥2,000 and ¥5,000, and there’s normally a few on special offer. The staff are fairly hands off, but if you’re feeling a bit stumped to choose, they’ll jump in with some recommendations.

Food wise, Garage isn’t too adventurous, varying between Japanese standards and Italian and Spanish influences: Pastas and pizzas dominate, but there are also a few worthwhile seafood dishes such as gambas al ajillo (Spanish-style shrimp in garlic and oil) and squid ink rice croquettes. The anchovy potato salad in particular is a (little) showstopper.

The lunch menu is limited to a few reasonably priced set-plate standards: The daily special, which changes often, when I visited was mince cutlets with rice and salad, pasta sets and loco moco, the Hawaiian concoction of rice, hamburger patty and gravy that’s now a mainstay in Japan. Garage is an easy place to lounge, if your wine glass stays full.