The Garland Bistro on Speedway
“The Garland” takes family owned and operated to extreme levels, it’s on Speedway.
Update 1/27/11 Downgraded for really slow service. Food is still great
I am a big fan of their soups and I do the Vietnamese Pha Chicken Soup, again. My better half almost always orders the Vegetable Curry with brown rice. You should note that the Garland’s menu is not limited to “Vietnamese” only cuisine. They offer a wide variety of dishes including some sandwiches.
3 stars out of 5
We always drop in for lunch and they have a pretty interesting menu which includes curries and a variety of good choices for Vegetarian. Not that vegetarian is a pre requisite for us to be happy with a place. Just thought you veg heads might like to know of another good choice. Meat eaters, this place is for you to.
The Garland is in an old converted house and has a little court yard out front. It’s a little bit run down(quaint?), but clean and comfortable. I think breakfast is their passion as their special board always has additional specials for the breakfast crowd. Although I can’t comment on the entire menu, other than to say, of the limited items I’ve eaten there and always for lunch, everything I have ever ordered has been just about perfectly delicious. ON this visit I ordered my usual, Pha soup with Thai Basil. It’s a clean broth with rice noodles and a healthy portion of sliced chicken breast. It arrives with a fresh mound of Thai Basil, crunchy bean sprouts and two little sauces on the side, one of which will turn your Pha soup into a blazing inferno of spicy deliciousness. Me like it spicy hot but note that you can forego the heat and create your soup in the image you love most. I start with ripping up a ton of Basil and getting the leaf oils going which means when I eat my first few spoonfuls I like to let the basil completely and playfully take over the hot broth. I’m not kidding, savory doesn’t know from savory until you’ve tried fresh basil in the hot broth. Then about ten spoonfuls in, I can’t stand it anymore, and in goes the hot stuff sauce. It’s like having two different bowls of soup and by the end I’m usually in blissful but mild spicy pain. It’s a large portion and all I need to fill me up for lunch.
We are both hooked on our respective meals at this place. Ali almost always orders the Curry Vegetables with Brown rice on the side. Ali? How was it? I didn’t know I liked curry until I tried this dish, and now I can’t order anything else. It’s rich and bold, with cinnamon undertones that you can’t stop eating long after you are full. I get it with tofu, which sops up that delicious golden sauce and balances perfectly with a nutty brown rice. It comes with a side salad that I can never find room for. I highly recommend it. Hey it the male side of the review back again and I want to point out that Ali doesn’t love string beans, and those are among the many vegetables in her curry bowl. I always get a couple bites of her Tofu if I behave myself during the meal.
If there is a drawback to the Garland, it would be the service. The family tends to try to do it all themselves which means that when they get busy, their typically marginally ok service starts getting really slow when it comes to the little things like refills, questions about the food, and your check. I’m pretty sure that most Tucsonians know about the Garland and probably aren’t surprised by this favorable review. If you haven’t tried or forget about them, this is a reminder that you need to treat yourself and go to the Garland. If you can set aside your time schedule and can relax, it’ll help you to better enjoy the place.
I highly recommend the Garland! The only reason it gets 4 out of 5 is the service issue but for food this uniquely good, I can wait.
They are open for Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner and closed on Tuesdays. They have a limited beer and wine list. I consider them to be affordable and medium priced.
Everything you need to know is at http://www.garlandtucson.com
A for Effort
B for Ambiance
B for Service
A+ for the food taste
A+ for the presentation
AAA for not somehow screwing it up
I make this place one of my top picks for lunch and they have something I crave. Ah Pha! I’ll be honest, even though they have alcohol, I’m not likely to think of this place as a pick for a “romantic night of fine dining and drinks.”