The Garlic Shack has been on my to-visit list for awhile. This used to be Sherman’s Shack a few years ago.
There’s indoor and outdoor seating on their little patio. There’s also a parking lot now which is one house over. The house in between the lot and the restaurant is walled off and looks like a condemned danger zone. The parking lot has zero lighting. But hey – there’s a parking lot!
We had to sit outside at first since there wasn’t enough room inside. Luckily a few patrons finished up and we were able to move inside where it was a bit warmer.
It’s a tight space in here. They have super skinny tables to try and accommodate as many folks as possible. It feels quite cramped but they’re making it work.
FYI. When you spend $25 bucks at the Garlic Shack, you get a free cup.
Here’s the menu. The top part was only half a page.
Sandwiches and sides.
Hot dogs, burgers, and noodle soup.
A variety of drinks.
And just a few more drinks.
I was in the mood for Jalapeno Peppers with Cream Cheese [$4]. They have a heavy batter on them and when I took one bite, I accidentally pulled the whole pepper out and got hot cheese all over myself. These were a bit hard to eat and we had to wait for them to cool down a little. I like my own grilled jalapeno poppers version better than the deep fried ones.
The Sweet Potato Tater Tots [$4] were probably my most favorite item at the Garlic Shack but I was a little baffled as to why they put powdered sugar on top. The tots are sweet on their own and they don’t need this extra sprinkling of sugar. I loved the taste and the texture of the tots though, despite the sugar on top. I dipped these into their wonderful ranch sauce and enjoyed them immensely.
Jake wanted to try out the Canadian Poutine Fries [$7] so we got an order of those to share as well. They arrived in a cute little pot!
The poutine has an interesting mix of stuff on top. You’ve got gravy, cheese, green peppers (which we omitted) and an asian sesame caramel sauce on top of crispy fries. Now, I enjoyed the fries on their own. I ended up eating around the sauces to just get to the fries. I didn’t really taste the gravy at all – the only thing I could taste was the asian caramel sauce which quickly became much too sweet for my liking. The asian caramel sauce overpowered the dish and made it hard to taste any other flavors.
There were so many options on the menu it was kind of hard to choose what to narrow it down to. Jake ended up deciding on the I am a Normal Burger [$7]. The burgers are all made with kobe beef and are steam cooked. The “Normal” burger comes with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, and lots of pickles. Jake and T actually found the amount of pickles to be overwhelming and had to takes some off. Jake is usually adding MORE to the burger so that was kind of unusual. I found the burger to be a bit unwieldy and hard to eat. The burger meat was just okay. I’m not sure that I really enjoyed their method of cooking the burger.
T decided to get one of the sandwiches and ordered the Garlicky Meatballholic [$9]. The sandwich comes with meatball, asian caramel spread, lettuce, green peppers [omitted], pepper jack cheese, coleslaw [omitted], and caramelized onion. T was fully in love with his sandwich from the very first bite. I did really enjoy the flavor of the meatball – it has a good texture and a nice seasoning. But – this sandwich also got too be too sweet by the end! I think the caramel spread overwhelmed my tastebuds when I took another bite of it.
I decided to get something a little different and ordered the Fritosholic [$7.5] which is a cajun polish kielbasa with chili, green peppers [omitted], lettuce, chopped onion, fritos, provolone cheese, and spicy BBQ spread.
This was not a sandwich I could pick up and eat! The chili made that too difficult to accomplish so I had to knife and fork this sucker. I enjoyed the kielbasa on this one but that sweetness factor started to creep in for me at the end yet again. Perhaps the chili was the doing this time? I only managed about half of it before I called it quits. I liked the crunch of the fritos but the chili became too rich for me after awhile. The flavor of it overwhelmed my senses to the point where I just didn’t enjoy eating it any longer. Is there such a thing as too much flavor? Apparently there is.
I really wanted to like the Garlic Shack but I was surprised by how rich and sweet everything started to taste after a few bites. There didn’t seem to be a balance of flavor in the dishes we tried. Perhaps we just ordered the wrong combination of things? Maybe the noodle bowls are the thing to get here since I saw a few patrons enjoying those dishes. I also expected there to be more items with garlic in them, but that’s just my perception of what a “Garlic Shack” should be. Ah well. At least we were able to try it for ourselves.
549 25th Street
San Diego, CA 92102