Are you a fan of the Food Network show Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives? I love it and was excited to try the host’s (Guy Fieri) restaurant Johnny Garlic’s while we were in the San Francisco Bay Area. Oh, and it’s not a diner, drive-in, or dive.
Johnny Garlic’s is an energetic place with a creative and diverse menu. The dining room is done in dark colors with dim lighting (which explains the poor picture quality), but it is a bit noisy. There were quite a few people both at the bar and waiting for a table, but we were seated within 15 minutes. The waiting area is quite small and was a bit crowded this evening, though it was a Thursday.
The menu features everything from burgers to changing game selections (bison tri-tip, the evening we were there). We were quite intrigued by several dishes, and I had a hard time deciding.
She first brought a basket of complimentary bread with olive oil. The bread was a garlic & herb focaccia that was pretty good. I always love a good bread dipped in oil!
We also ordered a Basket of Maui Onion Straws served with BBQ sauce ($6.95) as an appetizer. The onion straws were so thin that you just grab a mini-bundle of them and dip in the sauce before you eat them up. The sauce was nice and sweet and complimented the slightly salty onion straws.
I ordered the Volcano Chicken ($16.95), which was one of the server’s recommendations. It features two grilled chicken breasts topped with volcano sauce & Maui Onion straws served over Yukon gold mashed potatoes with pattypan squash (also called sunburst or scallop squash) on the side...plus a sweet purple orchid to decorate my plate. Loved that! That volcano sauce was quite flavorful and a medium-level spiciness. It was nice to have the mashed potatoes to temper the spiciness (plus, who doesn’t love a good mashed potato?). I love pattypan squash! They are just so cute and the little bitty ones don’t even need to be cut up. These were nice and tender & I loved them! Why don’t more places serve these?
Mr. Diner chose the Bourbon Buffalo Meatloaf ($19.50), which was topped with Bourbon BBQ sauce & Maui Onion straws and also served atop Yukon gold mashed potatoes with pattypan squash on the side (do you see a theme here?). Actually, as I looked over the menu, a lot of things were topped with the onion straws. If we had noticed, we would have ordered something else as an appetizer. The meatloaf was very flavorful, moist, and soft. It was delicious, but I think it would have been even better with a bit of a crust on the outside. If the menu hadn’t said BBQ sauce, I wouldn’t have guessed that it was BBQ…it was very rich, but it wasn’t as sweet as most BBQ sauces and actually had a Worcestershire undertone to it.
We enjoyed the flavors in our dishes and would love to try some additional entrees at Johnny Garlic’s. Just wish there was a bit more variety in the way the dishes are served. I love Maui Onion Straws, but wow…there sure were a lot at our table!
Entrée Price: $$$
Average Fork Rating: 4.5
Mr. Diner: 5
Mrs. Diner: 4