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Osteria del Galileo

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The rest of the restaurant looked nearly full. I think the reason is that people have it figured out. You either go to Galileo or you don't. If you try anything in between you'll be disappointed.

Sorry the experience wasn't that great. The service and food quality are well below Palena's bar menu, that's for sure. Still, there were enough positives that I thought it was a good deal (the bread board, the wine, and about 60% of the dishes I've had). I've lucked out with decent service the times I've been there, but I could see how it could be really poor-- in so many ways the Osteria seems like an afterthought to the main restaurant (and even the bar). I'm hoping they'll try and fix the (sometimes glaring) flaws.

Chris Sadler

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Went last night and was joined by Chef Shogun and edemuth for dinner and the Busboys for drinks before dinner.

I can only echo what others have said. If this was a stand alone retaurant in another neighborhood, and if the service was at all attentive and it didn't have the atmosphere of a forgotten corner of a masoleum then I wouldn't have been disappointed.

The food (I had a tuna salad and two pastas - the Carbonara and a Farfalle with a cream sauce and salmon) was fine (if a little heavy and a little under salted) and I certainly felt like I got value for my money.

But where at Palena it is obvious that the front room food is coming out of the same kitchen as the glorious back room food, here it seemed like it was an entirely different operation. I've eaten at Galileo and for all the criticism it gets, it is still a good restaurant with mostly thoughtfully prepared food. I got the sense that the cooking for the Osteria, while acceptable, is probably wildly inconsistent.

But the company was excellent.

Bill Russell

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If this was a stand alone retaurant in another neighborhood, and if the service was at all attentive and it didn't have the atmosphere of a forgotten corner of a masoleum then I wouldn't have been disappointed. 

That says it all.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Indeed it does! The place (Osteria - the bar and main restaurant seemed to be well occupied) was nigh deserted! It was quiet Saturday night. Almost...too quiet. What does everybody else know that we didn't? The answer is: I don't know! Other than the service, there was nothing too horribly wrong! The food was acceptably good. The wine was more than just functionally tasty. The noun was qualifier adjective! As much as I hate to re-apply the Osteria Caveat, this was all in the context of 'what we were paying'. The food was good, yes, and was a great value at (the average of) $8 for an entree. Would it be as good a value at $10? Probably. At $14? That's pushing it.

Here's the rundown of what I had: Spaghetti carbonara, which we all had at some point. Afterall, who can resist a good carbonara? Definately a fine example of this particular aspect of pasta, though a few more degrees of warmth would have been appreciated. Really just so the pasta didn't cling (Adjectives are failing me here, it really wasn't THAT bad!) as much, rather than for concerns of taste. This was followed by veal marsala as an entree. The veal was tender and nicely seared, and the sauce was flavorful if a touch oily. The only thing that fell flat for me was a side of garlic spinach. I thought it was too bitter. I ended ceding the bulk of it to Bilrus, who found that the addition of salt cut the bitterness to acceptable levels. I just think they burnt the garlic, or the dried pepper. Next time, I'll go with the roasted potato side.

And there will be a next time! Despite being clearly in the 'cheap seats', it was well worthwhile! Perhaps the solution to the problem of absent waitrons is sitting at the bar. I didn't get a look at that menu, but at least the bartender isn't going anywhere!

Thanks again for the invite!

Edited for anecdote: Evening began for me the way these things always start: Showing up at a restaurant to meet eGulleters for the first time and having to do a "Hi, I'm meeting people here but...I don't know...quite who they are....so much." Very mysterious! They never know what to do with that. Thankfully, Bilrus was sitting right there to come to my aid!

-- C.S.

Galileo, Figaro.

Edited by Chef Shogun (log)

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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What Rocks failed to convey, I think, is that everything that was served to us was INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS.  I admit, its nice to have friends in restaurants you go to....I had the most perfectly cooked spaghetti ala puttanesca that I've ever had in my whole life. Toothsome spaghetti, slightest whiff of anchovies.... I loved it. We tried 10 things. Go there!

I didn't initially convey this because I feared the meal we had wasn't representative of the Osteria (no doubt about it, when Mark Slater walks into a restaurant, the red carpet is rolled out). We had a couple courses (the really good anchovies, the not-so-good pigs feet, the bread plank) from the Osteria, but other items came from the Galileo and Laboratorio kitchens, which are separate. That spaghetti we had was fresh pasta from Galileo (which costs in the mid-$20s), as opposed to the dried pasta you get for $8 at Osteria.

You can order anything off of Galileo's menu while sitting at the bar, but you pay the same price as people sitting at tables with white linens and full service.

I've been back to Osteria several times now and can talk enthusiastically about the wines and the plank of bread (this is an impressive assortment of bread, and it's hard to believe they can offer this for free much longer). Plus, it's hard to quibble about much of anything that costs eight bucks. The service has tended to be inattentive and nonchalant, and on two of my last three visits, I wasn't even offered the Osteria's wine list - I was handed the by-the-glass list from Galileo which is much more expensive, and had to ask for the less expensive list from the Osteria, which they reluctantly provided.

The "Osteria del Galileo" is a fancy name - let's face it - for "the bar menu," really nothing more than Italian pub grub in a luxurious setting. What is the definition of a restaurant? Is it a wall between dining rooms with a separate grilling area (Bardeo)? A separate lounge area and distinct menu with things coming from the same kitchen (Cityzen, Citronelle, Palena, Corduroy?) A little alcove within a larger space (Minibar)? A sushi bar that also makes food for table service (Sushi-Ko, Kaz)? A chef's table (Eve, Citronelle, Laboratorio)? Things have become fuzzy of late, and I don't think the answer is clear anymore.



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FYI, I just finished reading that issue of Gourmet with Michel Richard on the cover, and the Osteria is recommended in the issue's restaurant guide for DC. Also recommended -- the bar at Palena (for value) and Citronelle and Maestro (for food). (Sounds like someone was reading eG.)

"The noun was qualifier adjective!" -- I find this applies to a lot of things.

It is pretty easy to consider Minibar and Bardeo as being separate from their parents, isn't it? The chef's table seems to be on the other side of the spectrum, a window into the workings of the single kitchen (Although Laboratorio has taken on a life of its own, hasn't it?). To me, the essence of the bar menu is a more casual, more affordable opportunity to experience the same restaurant -- same kitchen -- even if it is a different menu. Which is why I love them, and why I hate to see reports of Galileo's food being on such a different level.


Edited by DCatty (log)
Save Pale Male <--- GO HERE!
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  • 3 weeks later...

I went to Osteria del Galileo last weekend and it was one of the better meals I've had in a long time. Service was excellent. The servers treated us very well and attended to our every need.

I wasn't sure what to expect because I had never been to Galileo before. I had the fettuccine with chicken and chicken liver which I thoroughly enjoyed. The fettucine was homemade which was refreshing given the kind of pasta we've been eating at other Italian restaurants lately. My wife started with the buffalo mozarella and grilled marinated pumpkin. I thought the marinated pumkin was a nice touch. For entrees, we had the veal scallopine and meatballs with polenta. I really liked my scallopine, but I've had better meatballs elsewhere. Plus, meatballs as an entree? I guess what do you want for $11 at Galileo?

Edited by dcfoodie (log)
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