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Galli Restaurant, located at 45 Mercer Street, New York, NY, 10013, truly lives up to its claim of "Italian comfort food." Founders Steven and Karen Gallo, with Michael Forrest, aimed to create a neighborhood style restaurant that truly had you feel as if being in your "mama's house for Sunday dinner." And that is exactly how I felt. Exposed brick and vents give the restaurant a comfortable and at-home, lofty feel.
First up: Drinks. Galli has the most unique and interesting cocktail list. All drinks are made with homemade syrups and infusions. We tried Daria's Melons first; a refreshing combination of sapphire gin, campari, fresh lemon, pink peppercorn syrup and fresh watermelon - truly the perfect summer drink. Next we sampled Sara's Wake Up Call; a delicious blended coffee adult beverage with Corsair vanilla vodka, Stone Barn coffee liqueur, chilled espresso and Cynar. At the suggestion of our wonderful waiter Brooks (he was wonderful and great with suggestions!), we finished the night with the Lansky made with Rittenhouse Rye, Aperol, fresh lemon and Ramazzotti Amaro. All drinks were a refreshing change from the same old boring cocktail menu and I loved their unique style.
For starters, we went with Brooks's suggestion of Baked Clams and Baby Riceballs. The freshest little neck clams mixed with bread crumbs in a lemony butter sauce didn't last 10 seconds on the table. The Riceballs were fantastic as well; a crispy on the outside yet moist on the inside combination of rice, peas, chopped meat and light pomodoro (exactly like my aunt used to make them, I may add).
Our pasta selection was the Gamberi; perfectly al dente rigatoni pasta with shrimp, broccoli, and mozzarella in a yummy pink sauce. I could order this pasta over and over again; truly a fantastic comfort pasta (living up to the restaurant design)!
Our entree selections were the Chicken Francese and the Veal Saltimbocca. The Chicken Francese, moist pan seared cutlets in a white wine and lemon butter sauce, were served with roasted veggies (broccoli, zucchini and carrots). It was hands down the most delicious francese I personally have ever tried. The Veal Saltimbocca was the perfect combination of veal scallopini, sage, prosciutto and spinach. It was simply perfect and I could have dipped bread in the gravy for hours. All our choices were a great sized portion and truly had us feeling like we were eating family favorite recipes.
As if we had room for dessert, it had to be done. The Tiramisu was outrageous; a creamy and rich joining of lady fingers, espresso and mascarpone and a great size for sharing. We also sampled the nutella sliders; a unique pairing of nutella and strawberries on a sandwich style brioche bun and topped with powdered sugar. Yum Yum Yum! An expertly brewed cappuccino and macchiato ended our night and had us in a true food coma.
A huge thank you to the staff at Galli (especially the delightful Brooks!) for a wonderful evening of cocktails, dinner and desserts. It was the perfect summer night for some true Italian comfort food.