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Restaurant review: Gallo’s Kitchen & Bar jazzes up meals offering Creole, Italian options

Dan Stout / Lantern photographer

Gallo’s Kitchen & Bar, located at 2820 Nottingham Road in Upper Arlington, Ohio, is owned by the Gallo family, who also own Gallo’s Tap Room and most recently Gallo’s Pit BBQ. This installment of the family’s growing restaurant business offers a mixture of Italian and Creole dishes, alongside some of the most popular sandwiches from Gallo’s Tap Room.

Upon entering, the right half of the establishment comes off as a high-class sports bar, while the left side resembles a sit-down restaurant.

The bar side of the restaurant is decorated much like any other sports bar with a score of TVs surrounding the fully stocked bar, screening a selection of games.

Meanwhile on the restaurant side you can still see the televisions from every seat and the décor is much nicer. The combination of Italian paintings and smooth jazz music playing in the background really gives off the relaxed, classy, yet causal feel of the restaurant.

The best part of my experience there was the service. Right after my friend and I walked in the door, we were led to our table by the friendly, attentive staff. Our waiter disappointed tad though when he didn’t know the beer prices, which ended up being moderately priced with domestics starting around $3. He made up for the mishap with his quick service and an apparent knowledge of the dinner menu.

Tommy Gallo, owner and head chef of the restaurant, came out of the kitchen a few times to talk to patrons, making sure they were enjoying their meals.

Once we were seated, the first thing I noticed was the extensive beer and wine list that had its own menu with beers on one side of the sheet and wines filling the other side. The wide range of beers included everything from locally crafted brews to imports such as Italy’s Peroni.

The menu itself is only two pages, and opens with the words, “The heart of Italy, the soul of New Orleans.” Beginning with the appetizers section, Gallo’s shows off its slew of dining selections with options such as $4 gumbo with rice and $9 homemade meatballs with marinara sauce. I opted to start with a small house salad with homemade pernod buttermilk dressing priced at $4. Tossed with hearts of palm, which I had never tried before and was not particularly fond of, the lettuce was fresh and the dressing delicious.

I settled on the $15 jambalaya for my main course, and I have to say it was an excellent choice. The hearty dish included chicken, andouille sausage and Tasso ham, along with rice, vegetables and a spicy seasoning. The server also brought out a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce, which went perfectly with the dish, adding a lot of extra kick. My friend opted for the Creole Seasoned Grilled Chicken Sandwich, which she also seemed to enjoy, mostly due to the fresh bread and toppings. She cautioned, however, that the chicken had “some heat to it.”

Overall the experience at Gallo’s was very good. I will definitely be going back in the near future, and highly recommend it to anyone else who wants to watch a game or go out on a nice date without spending a fortune.

Grade: A

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