In terms of atmosphere, Karen Gallo designed the space with an eye for the casually cool: the colors are glamorous, while the textures – knobby wood, shiny black tiles, plush olive upholstery, and exposed red brick – create an atmosphere of leisure. The lighting over and around each table setting enhances Gallo’s stylistic vision of warmth and intimacy. The Galli entrance opens up with a spacious, sexy black marble bar, which leads somewhat narrowly through to a row of spacious booths paired with rustic wooden tables, beyond which the dining room lies under a lofty glass roof. To add an extra layer of interest, good-memory jogging 90’s music blares and every single waiter is both friendly and fun to look at. I guess that’s the icing.
The respect for flavors extends to the drinks menu, where sugar is used as a compliment, not the main event (applause). Drinks at Galli are an art form. The cocktail menu is something that should be admired, read, and, of course, tasted. My top-pick, JJ’s Diamond, has a base of stately Bols Genever and the much sought-after Coochi Americano, laced with fresh lemon, a splash of aromatic, herbal yellow chartreuse, and the flowery sweetness of creme de violette. If you’re more of a hard-kicker, you have fifteen other options for artful blends, and can definitely kick it with the help of the straight-up side of the menu.
Go for every reason I mentioned above as well as Steve’s mom’s riceball recipe. It’s his favorite, which is likely to be your favorite. The non-guilty pleasure (as in…I don’t feel one bit guilty about eating 5 out of 6 of these): mozzchips. Six thin slices of fresh mozzarella, breaded, fried until crispy-melty, and served with a generous ladle of pomodoro. Bring people you love, order heartily, pass around plates so that no one misses a thing, and celebrate your senses at Soho’s new gem, Galli.
Galli: 45 Mercer Street, NYC / (212) 966 – 9288