Review: Gallo’s Tap Room

I admit, for the longest time, I wouldn’t set foot into Gallo’s Tap Room. For all intents and purposes, it looks like a dive bar in the middle of a concrete wasteland nestled deep in suburbia. And maybe at one time, it was exactly that. But little birdies have been whispering in my ear for a while now, telling me to give it a chance, that the food was actually good despite the questionable choice of location.

Color us surprised that we had misjudged Gallo’s Tap Room all along. Our first clue that things would be different was when we spied the beer list, and saw that they had several good imports (including my beloved Lindemann’s Framboise lambic) on tap. Plus an impressive selection of bottled imports and microbrews as well.

The menu is on the small side, which allows them to focus on quality by using fresh ingredients (their wings are fresh, never frozen, for instance), making their own sauces and sides, etc. It’s a fusion of Italian and pub grub, with plenty to choose from among soup, salads and paninis. Their wings are reputed to be some of the best in Columbus.

The ambiance is typical dark sports bar, with plenty of tables about to enjoy your meal, but we chose to eat outside on their small patio. While it wasn’t an oasis surrounded by concrete, it did provide us the ability to eat outside in relative peace and quiet, with a nice breeze blowing.

We started with an order of their Fried Pierogies ($6.50), which were a half dozen potato and onion pierogi deep fried to a nice golden brown. While this isn’t a typical Midwest preparation, to displaced East Coasters like my husband and me, it was a nice slice of home. Served with sour cream (and the caramelized onions we asked for on the side), they were a thing of beauty, and a perfect start to our meal.

Pierogies from Gallo's Tap Room

For his main, my husband went with the 4 O’ Clock Panini ($7.25), which tops a Rustic bread with thinly sliced home made meatballs with a wonderful red sauce and aged provolone. The whole mess is grilled on a panini press to crispy perfection. Despite him taking darn near a half hour to finish it, it remained crispy and warm throughout.

4 'o Clock Panini Sandwich from Gallo's Tap Room

Sandwiches come with your choice of fries, an apple cole slaw, half and half (half of fries, half of cole slaw), or a salad. Or you can opt for soup for an additional charge. He chose the apple cole slaw, which is a traditional cabbage slaw with shreds of apple in it. The slaw was a lot less dressed than most I’ve had, and much less sweet (it seems if the sweetness comes primarily from the apple). A light sprinkling of salt helped bring out all the subtle flavors of it.

Apple Cole Slaw from Gallo's Tap Room

I went with their Angus Burger ($7.95), which is their best-selling sandwich. It puts a half pound burger (cooked to order) on a ciabatta roll, and then tops it with lettuce, tomato, and onion (and cheese if you desire). Unfortunately, when they first brought it to me it was woefully overcooked (well done when I had ordered it medium rare). When I brought it to our server’s attention he seemed genuinely mortified, and whisked it away and had a fresh burger to me in a matter of minutes. The second time around, the burger was just about perfect – nicely seasoned, cooked exactly medium rare, and juicy as all get out. The ciabatta roll stood up well to the juicy bloody onslaught. Opt for some of their homemade mayo to be served with it for a true taste treat.

Angus Burger from Gallo's Tap Room

I got fries with mine, and if they’re not fresh cut, they’re indistinguishable from fresh cut. Deep fried to golden perfection, and delicious with salt and some malt vinegar.

French Fries from Gallos Tap Room

Service was flawless. Our server (who I also believe is one of the brothers who owns the place) was engaging, helpful, and extremely attentive. Even though we were seated outside (away from the main dining area) we didn’t want for a single thing during our entire meal.

One would hardly expect to get outstanding food in a sports bar, but this is the exception to the rule. If you’re in the area, toss all your preconceived notions out and stop in. You won’t regret it for a second.

If you’d like to go: Gallo’s Tap Room, 5019 Olentangy River Rd (in the Micro Center Plaza, between KMart and Micro Center), Columbus, OH 43214, 614-457-2394

Gallo's Tap Room on Urbanspoon

9 thoughts on “Review: Gallo’s Tap Room

  1. Robin

    This is something I had posted at restaurant widow about our visit……

    Terrible! The wings were decent, but it was disappointing to find out it was wing night when the bill came (the waitress did say something about getting five instead of six wings but didn't explain why). The burger was a dry salty puck on a chewy roll twice it's size. The "apple" coleslaw? A poorly dressed bag mix that I challenge them to pick out apple in it. Combine that with the painfully slow service and distant/rude waitress (in fairness there was a good waitress that kept coming to our rescue but we belonged to the rude one)I don't know why anyone would eat there.

    I'm glad you had a nice meal; ours was so bad I couldn't imagine giving them another $30 and hate to see anyone else waste money there…

  2. Batarang

    Just ate here and thought it was a good meal. My friend and I split a 12-piece order of wings which were pretty good (6 w/ an excellent Teriyaki-Wasabi sauce, 6 w/Cockfight–hot, thai-based sauce). We both chose the Angus burger which was an excellent choice. The ciabatta bread wasn't too dry and they didn't skimp on the lettuce, onion, or tomato. I chose the "apple" coleslaw as my side. It was just as you described…not quite enough apple (sweetness), and needing a tiny bit of salt, but still tasty and crunchy. Service was very good as well.

  3. TheEdgeFramer

    bar food rule #1- sit AT the bar. best service & view of the action/tv. I follow this rule everytime I plan on eating at a bar.
    Now, as far as Gallo's damn grilled cheese ever. Add fries and a quality pint of beer and you get perfection. The soups are always inventive and always fabulous. As far as other menu items go..don't know..I always get the grilled cheese:)

  4. chetkres

    Home of the $11 burger. $7.95 for the basic burger, 25 cents for cheese, $1.50 for mushrooms, and $1.00 for onions. What a rip-off! And to top it all off, they charge 50 cents for mayonnaise! Been there twice for burgers, both times they were overcooked and completely dried out, and the thick dry ciabatta bread didn't help. Big, big disappointment, $33 for 2 burgers and 2 beers including tax and tip. Nice hi-def projection TVs, though, which is really what you're paying for.

  5. Rick dorman

    I frankly shocked by the previous blog. No charge for cheese. The mushrooms are prepared to order and are pocini’s. The onion that they ordered are caramelized. Both fresh, cooked special, and they ordered them! Mayonnaise is made from scratch every day. Want free, try burger king. They will be thrilled to open a can. 4 years and never an over cooked burger and there are very few places I would trust with my preferred medium rare burger.

    To the rest. Family owned and feels it. Casual bar but comfortable. Very diverse croud depending on the time of day. Next level “bar” food and find a 22oz domestic pour for $2 during happy hour! Must try. MUST TRY!

  6. Schwalowski

    I have to say that I Love love love this place!!! I moved to chicago and actually crave quite a few of their menu items. Wings are awesome, great homemade sauces. The soups are all homemade and really good…this place offers so many delicious homemade sandwiches it's hard for me to just choose one! And seriously what an amazing beer list. Now if you're looking to spend 7 bucks for a complete meal you probably should hit up a fast food joint. I think this place is great. Nice friendly staff, great food and just a cool place in my book.

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