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Singing Praises

Come watch 'The Sopranos' at Gallo's Bar and Grill and stay for the terrific family-style meals.

March 31, 2000|MAX JACOBSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

You like "The Sopranos"? Listen up: Gallo's Bar and Grill is the only Southland restaurant with a room dedicated to viewing the popular HBO serial, which it honors Sunday evenings with a family-style menu, $25 a head. A recent menu included sausage and peppers, Caesar salad, eggplant a la Gallo and chicken Milanese. You were expecting seared ahi?

Actually, you can get ahi on the regular dinner menu. Owner Charlie Gallo shows off his heritage with excellent Italian dishes, but he also runs the very good Tarzana steakhouse Charlie G's. Here he's simply taken the same steak-seafood-pasta formula and given it a few minor twists.

The restaurant is easily spotted from the Ventura Freeway, but the entrance, located in a parking lot behind Ventura Boulevard, isn't well marked. It's the old Love's Barbecue, and perhaps in homage, Gallo's serves good smoky baby back ribs.

This is a dark, clubby place of red booths and white tablecloths, with oil paintings on the walls and a timbered ceiling. Just beyond the back door is a real London double-decker bus where unrepentant smokers can light up.

VALLEY ROUNDUP For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday April 5, 2000 Valley Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Zones Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Restaurant review--A March 31 restaurant review in Valley Life misstated Charlie Gallo's involvement with Charlie G's steakhouse. He is a former owner of the restaurant.

The appetizers are delicious, though the eggplant a la Gallo in tomato sauce could be more judiciously salted. The pasta fagioli is penne and cannellini beans in a flavorful broth.

There's a nice blend of anchovies, mustard and spices in the Caesar salad's thick dressing.

All entrees come with a choice of soup or salad, and you can't go far wrong here either. The house salad is field greens and ripe tomatoes in (just a little too much of) a nicely balanced balsamic vinaigrette. One evening I had a thick chicken noodle soup, full of small oval egg noodles none of us could identify and everyone agreed were addictive.

The main courses are substantial, and every one I've tasted has been up to snuff. A big hunk of Lake Superior whitefish came perfectly grilled, accompanied by a nutty rice pilaf, properly steamed carrots and a surprisingly good beurre blanc. The New York steak is a full 14 ounces. We ordered one blood rare and it arrived just right, charred on the outside and spitting red from the center.

Our swordfish, a generous slab, was firm, moist and tender, ever so slightly blackened on the edges. I also liked the chicken Milanese, two medallions of pounded chicken with a golden crisp breading almost entirely free of grease.

Even a Soprano might be willing to sing for a supper like this.

BE THERE

Gallo's Bar and Grill, 5425 Farralone Ave., Woodland Hills. Lunch noon-4 p.m. daily; dinner 5-10 p.m. daily. Full bar. Parking lot. All major cards. Dinner for two, $32-$53. Suggested dishes: pasta fagioli, $3.95; Lake Superior whitefish, $17.95; 14-ounce New York strip steak, $22.95; chicken Milanese, $14.85. Call (818) 346-4393.

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