The Uptown Garrison

Let’s bringing in the new year with a new spot that opened in November. We have been waiting for them to open for a while. It looked awesome from outside, and when we peeked their inside design from the outside before they opened, it looked even more awesome. When they finally opened up, we were very excited when they finally opened up! We went to visit around lunch time to check them out. They have two doors, the one on the right goes into their cafe area, and the door to the left goes into the bar area.

The two areas, cafe and the bar are connected in the inside. The entire space is open, so it doesn’t matter which door you walk in from. The cafe side is smaller, but still have have a good amount of space and seating. I liked the wood ceiling, making the area feels warm and cozy.

The bar area is much larger, and I really liked the interior decoration. I like the mix of old – wood and tile – with the modern flair with metal fixtures. It was beautifully done. I liked the huge light fixtures that made me think of a submarine or a ship.

 

When we got to the cafe to get some food and drinks, the staff told us that they do not offer hot food during morning or lunch hours. Maybe that will change once the business is booming, but at least for now, they have baked goods until the evening time. We didn’t have this information beforehand, so we were a bit disappointed…and hungry since we were planning to have lunch here. We decided to just order several baked goods and drinks so that we can still get the experience of “dining” in here.

They had some cold drinks on top of coffee and tea selections. And, they have free WiFi, so we saw several patrons sitting down with their coffee cups and laptops.

We got a muffin, two cookies, and a croissant, all to share. We figured it will be enough to get us full, with a large cup of latte.

I loved the way their cookie looked, so I asked for a Teddy Bear Cookie ($3.50). They had two left, and the one I got looked more like a frog…LOL. It was super cute, regardless. It was a nice size, fluffy, soft, sweet and moist.

Another cookie we had was a Chocolate Chip Cookie ($3.50). This one was also a nice size, it had some weight to it. It was a bit more on the crunchy side, especially compared to the Teddy Bear Cookie. It had lots and lots of chocolate chunks, which was really nice.

Chocolate Croissant ($3.75) was ok. It was nice and flaky, buttery and light, but it didn’t have much chocolate in the inside. I wish if it had at least twice as much chocolate in it. Other than that, it was a nice croissant.

Blueberry Muffin ($3.50) was pretty good. It didn’t look like it had much blueberry from just looking at it. Once I cut it into half, I was surprised to see how much blueberry the muffin had in the inside! It was very moist, with good sweetness to it, without being too sweet. It was heavy with the blueberry, satisfying and filling.

For drinks, I ordered Matcha Latte ($3.50). It came in a large cup, much bigger than I thought. The price point was great, and it tasted great too. It had real matcha flavor from the matcha powder, with just the right sweetness to it. I liked the little bitterness that the matcha has, instead of it being completely masked by crazy amount of sweetner.

My husband ordered a Cappuccino ($4/large). It came in a big paper cup, and for this size, I thought the price was really affordable. It as a nice cup of cappuccino. Strong, earthy and flavorful. They get their coffee from Toby’s Estate and teas from Harney & Sons, both from New York. I thought it is great that they are getting their supplies locally, supporting the local businesses.

They have a bathroom on the bar side and the cafe side. The bathroom on the bar side is right next to the kitchen. It is nice and roomy, but the door was somehow not straight or something, I had difficult time closing the door completely for it to lock properly. Make sure you close and lock the door! Otherwise, it was clean and spacious.

The bathroom in the cafe area is on the right corner next to the ordering counter. They also have all kind of milk, cream and sugar by the bathroom as well. I also spotted a complimentary water jug with cups. I appreciate these cafe with free water.

Since we didn’t get to have a “real” or hot food here, we decided to go back during the dinner time. Their dinner starts at 5pm, and that is when we get to order hot food from their kitchen.

The cafe seating ends at 4pm, meaning all the people with their laptops and what not with their coffee needs to leave by 4pm. This is so that they can start to prepare the entire space for the dinner. I liked how their evening face that is completely different from their daytime face. It is more cozy, romantic, and relaxing

The cafe side also become the part of the restaurant, no longer a cafe. With that, the entrance that leads to the cafe gets locked. They have a couple of nooks by the window, a bar counter table just enough for one or maybe two people. It is nice to have a spot that can either be super cozy for two, or a patron who wants to drink or dine alone.

 

We decided to get a couple of cocktails with our dinner. I ordered Grasshopper ($10), which used to be one of my favorite cocktails. It is made with crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and cream. It is a sweet cocktail, different places make them a little differently, and I liked their Grasshopper a whole lot. It was not as green as it usually is, but color is not as important as its flavor. It was really good, creamy and delicious, my husband (who has sweet tooth) loved it too.

My husband ordered Ginger Mint Lemonade ($10). It is made with citrus vodka, lemon, mint, and ginger beer. It was a refreshing drink, would be super nice on a hot Summer day kind of drink. It was similar to Moscow Mule, but sweeter. It was high quality, strong and flavorful.

Their menu is kind of small, and that could be because they are still new. Maybe the menu will grow as their business grows. We ordered an appetizer to share. We heard good thing about their fried chicken, so we decided to try it. Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($12), which is made with chili honey, with a size of ranch for dipping.

Chicken was really good, and each piece was nice and big. They were moist and juicy, and had nice kick to it. I loved the mix of sweetness from the honey, and the spiciness from the chili. I enjoyed it very much.

After we finished the chicken, our waiter came and asked us if we wanted new plates for our main dish.  It was nice and considerate, we thought. For main, we ordered one pizza to share. Their main dish offerings are brick oven pizza. That is all, just pizza. We like brick oven pizza, so we were ok with that. We went with Meatball Classic ($16), which is made with red sauce, chili, meatballs, mozzarella, and pecorino. The pizza pie size is about 10 inches, and we get six slices. They had meatballs that were cut into quarters or so on the top. It had nice thin crust, I like thin crust so that was a plus. The dough was fluffy, and the meatball had sweet flavor to the meat. It nice kick to it in the sauce or spice, which went great with the sweet meatball. I loved the bit of charred flavor on the crust. We enjoyed the pizza.

After the pizza, we decided to get a dessert to share. They didn’t have a dessert menu that we could look at, but our waiter told us what they had for the day. We went with Beignets ($7). Four fried Beignets of a good size came with a side of cream. It didn’t have the shape of traditional Beignets, but more round all around.

It was nice and fluffy, yet doughy and moist. Sweet and comfy, and was even better with the cream. I loved the fresh cream. the texture was a bit more firm than regular whipped cream. It made it easier for the cream to staying on the beignets. I also liked how the cream was not overtly sweet, but milky and velvety.

Service was great, our server Erik took a good care of us. All the staffs were efficient, our plates were picked up quickly each time we finished using them, and our water always filled. We had a very pleasant dinner experience here. I thought the price point was great, and the quality of the food and drinks were high. I would definitely go back for more cocktails and food in a near future for sure!

 

The Uptown Garrison – 821 W 181st St, New York, NY 10033

 

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