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The Mouth: Galletti’s Spaghetti House misses some Italian pillars

Rather than offering Italian simplicity, restaurant is rather basic

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The Mouth of the Columbia



Published on August 2, 2018 8:23AM



Chicken “Picata”

Chicken “Picata”

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan

Side Salad

Side Salad

At the heart of Italian cooking is simplicity.

As Anthony Bourdain raved of one of his absolute favorite dishes, cacio e pepe: “It’s like the simplest, nicest thing in the world.”

Italian for “cheese and pepper,” cacio e pepe is something like the forefather to mac and cheese. It’s quick and easy to make — just noodles, salt, pepper, olive oil and Parmesan.

Along with other Italian cornerstones like pastas pomodoro, carbonara, these simple dishes sing in large part because of a commitment to ingredients that are fresh and well-crafted.

Which, unfortunately, you won’t find a lot of at Galletti’s Spaghetti House in Seaview, Wash.

For starters, the pasta is neither fresh nor house-made. And for a place that serves almost exclusively starchy, noodle-heavy dishes, that’s a cracked foundation.

There isn’t a whole lot of choice at Galletti’s, either. It mostly boils down to sauce — largely tomato or cream — and meat — from land or sea. Every entree includes a side salad and piece of garlic toast.

Starters are limited to breadsticks, bruschetta and stuffed Peruvian peppers. Besides the bruschetta, there’s no antipasto to speak of — no cured meats, olives or fine cheeses. So the “Spaghetti House” moniker is a more accurate descriptor than “Italian Restaurant” sign inside, a family heirloom.

About the salad and bread that accompany each entree: They’re pitiful. In one case, the salad was minuscule, not more than three or four puny bites. In another, it included a piece of spinach wilted with black rot. The bread, meanwhile, is bleached and insubstantial — not unlike the 99-cent grocery store variety. As “bread,” Italians might not recognize it. They certainly wouldn’t respect it. Cheap as the garlic toast appears, if one wanted a second slice, it wouldn’t be complimentary.

Galletti’s entrees may as well have been cribbed from the Olive Garden menu. Galletti’s, however, does away with the teeming portions and all-you-can-eat specials. While adequately filling on account of being carb-bombs, Galletti’s plates were surprisingly petite.

Speaking of surprise: A glass of red wine was served, inexplicably, at well-above room temperature.

Anyway, the entrees.

The Chicken Parmesan ($16.95) came out quick enough to make me wonder how accurate the claims of being “cooked-to-order” were. Either way, the breading was soggy and paste-like. Along for the ride were loads of melted cheese and a marinara that was a bit sweet but otherwise indistinct.

Same goes for the Lasagna ($14.95). I’d have a hard time picking it out of a lineup that included run-of-the-mill dry pasta and canned sauce from the grocery store.

The Chicken Picata ($18.95) was creamy and cheesy, with an lemony twang. The chicken was dry, pulverized and overcooked. And there wasn’t a whole lot of it — not for $18.95, anyway. What there was a whole lot of was oil, pooling up at the bottom of the bowl.

While a traditional chicken piccata recipe calls for the chicken to be dredged in flour and browned, Galletti’s forgoes the breading and — of course — adds a bunch of noodles. But hey, maybe that’s just Galletti’s take on the dish — perhaps that’s why they spell “Picata” with only one “c.” Either way, there was little in terms of portion or flavor to justify the dish’s nearly $20 price tag.

And that’s pretty much how Galletti’s left me: flat. Missing were those essential Italian building blocks of freshness, quality and personal touch.

Rather than celebrating simplicity, Galletti’s turned out to be rather basic.


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