No online menu, see below the ratings for pictures
Karisa: I recently heard of Galley from a coworker, who recommended it as a Southside brunching option. I’d never heard of it and had almost forgotten the recommendation when Michele suggested it as our jumping off point for an afternoon of planning and shopping before our big trip to Turkey (yes, of course we’re going to brunch!) Pulling into the shopping center, I was surprised I’d never noticed it before. I guess I need to work on my observation skills.
The first thing that struck me about Galley is how much the space looks like a Fan restaurant/bar. The space is long and narrow which, just like Fan bars, can make seating a little awkward. The booths along the wall were all taken, which left us our pick of seats in the front. We ended up moving around a few times trying to find a spot with some people watching and as much view as possible when looking out into a parking lot. I don’t think we were successful in finding that spot, although one of the two or so outside spots would have been very pleasant in the right weather.
We started with our standard drinks and the Granola and Greek yogurt to share. I anticipated a small bowl or parfait, but instead we received a large bowl full of watery melon and blueberries (seemingly previously frozen) topped with yogurt, granola and entirely too much honey for my taste. We put a respectable dent in it, mostly due to hunger, but I’d never order it again.
Ordering our main course was another challenge. Galley serves brunch every day (a huge plus!) so brunch and lunch/dinner are all on one menu. Perhaps they are attempting to be minimalists in keeping everything to one page, but this means they left off all descriptions for brunch. If you saw Baked Polenta with Eggs, Meaty Yolker, Morning Quesadilla, or Breakfast Burrito on a menu, would you have a good idea what you were going to eat? That was rhetorical, and this is a blog, but I’ll guess the answer is no. Neither did we, which led to lots of question asking of our server. I heard the same ritual at several other tables.
I ended up with the Polenta with Baked Eggs. The described “slice” of polenta turned out to be an enormous slab topped with gorgonzola cheese, spinach, and two runny eggs surrounded by a spicy marina and topped with parmesan cheese. While huge, it looked delicious, and I figured I’d be able to eat from it for several meals. Unfortunately, my first bite contained my entire sodium intake allowance for the day. I felt like I was eating a salt-lick. The already salty cheeses must have been doused with several handfuls of additional salt. I had a few bites and tried to fish around for less salty bits. They were not to be found. A few days later I still feel like I’m retaining water.
Michele: I was not aware of Galley until running some errands at the Stratford Hills shopping center one Friday afternoon. Karisa had already heard of this restaurant from some food-loving coworkers but had not yet eaten there. I arrived this particular week having finished a finance final less than an hour prior. I desperately needed a Bloody Mary and a cup of coffee. My Bloody was tasty, although all of the coarse spices were laying at the bottom of the glass rather than floating in suspension. The coffee was pretty standard, and I drank a few cups of it. We also split a bowl of yogurt, granola, and fruit. I think the fruit may have been previously frozen as the entire bowl was a little watery. We ended up picking around the fruit and only eating the yogurt and granola.
For my meal I selected the Cowboy Breakfast from the long list of specials. This dish consisted of a huge piece of cornbread, chili, cheese, and fried eggs cooked under a broiler and then topped with fresh salsa. My first bites of this dish were fantastic. I personally love cheese that has been browned under high heat like the broiler. The chili was tasty, not too spicy. The eggs were fried hard, so unfortunately no yolk explosion to mix with the chili. However, I imagine it's impossible to cook eggs under the broiler and not get hard yolks. The fresh salsa added a nice contrast of temperatures to the dish and added some acidity. My only complaint with this dish concerns the cornbread, which was sweet. In general I prefer unsweetened cornbread. In this case, though, the sweetness really did not compliment the mild spiciness and savoriness of the other ingredients.
Overall I had a pleasant meal at Galley. I will probably return here with my favorite Southside-living Saturday brunch companion. The menu features lots of options, so there should be something for everyone. The place has a fun diner feel, and it's clearly a neighborhood favorite.
Food – Good. Michele really enjoyed her entrée, but Karisa was less impressed and found her dish to be very salty. Our fruit and yogurt appetizer seemed to be made with frozen fruit, and was disappointing. The menu has a lot of interesting sounding options, but with no descriptions, it’s hard to make a decision.
Service – Fair. This is a toss-up between Good and Fair. She was slow getting us coffee refills, and didn’t offer drink refills. Otherwise, our service was okay; just doing her job but not adding or subtracting from our experience.
Atmosphere – Good. A good attempt to bring the atmosphere of the Fan to Southside. Unfortunately, a view of the parking lot just isn’t that interesting. Inside there’s a cool diner feel with chalkboard specials, booths, and bar seating.
Coffee – Good. Nothing too special, but we really liked the branded ceramic mugs, which added to the diner feel.
Mimosa – Good. Served Richmond-style with mediocre orange juice and sparkly wine, just as it should be. At $5 per pint, you could happily enjoy several.Bloody Mary – Good. Tasty, coarse spices had sunk to the bottom of the glass, salt and Old Bay on the rim.