402 W 44th St (9th & 10th Ave)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 265-6660
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Wine Bars
Area: East 50s
A cute, smallish spot that oozes romance but is also fine for families, Gallo Nero is handy for a bite before or after theater. Mercifully, it's a little west of most of the area madness.
The food is basic Italian without a lot of distinguishing features. The various brochette are fine if not exactly what your Italian grandmother would make if you had one. The roasted beet salad was lovely with perfectly cooked string beans in the mix along with a couple of walnuts. The next table was enjoying the meatballs along with the fried calamari and zucchini. I was racing to theater so didn't have time for a serious entree but there are many, among them pork scaloppini, linguini with clam sauce and the half chicken, roasted and served cabbage and mashed potatoes, good fuel for rough winter weather. The gnocchi were tempting but I passed on these and the many other pasta options including the spinach ricotta ravioli.
The wine list is pretty substantial for such a small place (seats 60) with options by the glass or bottle. I had a glass of the Montepulciano; one of my companions opted for the Barolo. Our waiter obligingly let us taste before we made our selections. Service by black-clad staff is fine; the place is very dark and our waiter helpfully produced a small flashlight to help one of my dining companions see the menu better.
The executive chef is Roberto Lopez who came to this fifteen year-old restaurant from stints at many high-end eateries. Lunch is on daily from noon to four p.m. and dinner four to midnight. Delivery and take out are available and all major credit cards accepted. You may not be bowled over but you will have a pleasant, even lovely meal and you will certainly get to your performance on time, even if, like us, you only realize that your curtain is one-half hour earlier than you'd thought. Mangia.
Review By: Mari Gold