You can take the restaurateurs out of the Fan, but can you take the Fan out of the restaurant? That may depend on which Fan restaurants to which you're comparing. C & M Galley Kitchen, the new spot in the Stratford Hills shopping center, is the shared project of Kuba Kuba's Manny Mendez and Bacchus' Chris DiLauro. The renovated space looks decidedly Fan-like with its long interior, deep booths, open kitchen and chalkboard specials menu. But instead of gaggles of 20-somethings, you're likely to see families and couples looking for a filling meal.
That's where Galley finds its niche, with neighborhood customers seeking a broad menu, enormous portions and friendly service for those who don't want to cross the river or deal with Fan types. Not that there aren't plenty of people populating Galley, because there are. It's apparent that neighborhood has starved for a Fan vibe.
Breakfast is served anytime, although on a recent Sunday, salmon for the smoked salmon frittata ($9.95) had run out by early afternoon. The veggie frittata ($7.95) promises roasted peppers, asparagus, onions, spinach and pesto, but the peppers turn out to be raw and green, an unacceptable substitution for some of us, and the whole thing could use some seasoning. Baked polenta with eggs ($8.95) is full of flavor, with the Gorgonzola sauce a nice contrast to the marinara and eggs. I overhear a diner raving to the kitchen about his huevos rancheros ($7.95), promising to be back for them again.
Like its city counterparts, the menu has plenty of appetizer choices. A standout is frenched drumsticks ($7.95), which come in three flavors — buffalo, Latin curry and Asian ginger — although bleu cheese dressing inexplicably accompanies them all. The plump Asian drumsticks are a hit for their meatiness and sweet sauce. Two or three daily soup specials ($3.95) are generous bowls, treats when they're a decadent tomato bisque and a waste when it's a bland beef stew with mostly potatoes.
Subs, sandwiches and pockets dominate the menu and come with a choice of sides. A duck prosciutto sub ($9.95) of cured duck breast with mozzarella cheese, roasted peppers, arugula and pesto has me wishing for less salt in the duck. A curry chicken salad wrap ($7.95) comes on thick pita with sprouts, cucumbers and roasted peppers and has good flavor, but it's the kind of chicken salad with no discernible texture of meat. The 6-ounce burger ($7.95) comes well done and has the ubiquitous roasted pepper, plus lettuce and pickles, but a slice of cheese costs $2, a costly but necessary addition. Sides vary from an outstanding apple fennel slaw to apparently frozen onion rings to a fruit salad of out-of-season cantaloupe and honeydew with pineapple and grapes providing the only real flavor.
Entrees and pasta dishes are enormous and easily shared. The Galley paella ($15.95) combines a breast of chicken, two shrimp, five mussels and several slices of ham with garlic, asparagus, onion and roasted peppers, but the advertised capers and peas are missing and the overall flavor is surprisingly bland given how good the paella is at Kuba Kuba. White wine and clam penne ($12.95) suffers the same unseasoned fate, but a special of Italian sausage, eggplant, penne and marinara has good spice.
Don't miss dessert ($5), which our server says comes from Kuba Kuba. Chocolate cake with flan is a unique way to get two treats, a wedge of cake topped by a layer of delicate flan. But it's the Italian cream cake — tall, dense and with a cream cheese frosting to die for — that I'd order again.
Like any good Fan bar, Galley has plenty of imbibing options with a dozen beers on tap ($4-5), 14 bottled beers ($3.75-$7.50), wines by the glass ($6) and a dozen bottles ($20-$49), including several Virginia options.
Galley has a roll-up garage window that will make it a popular place on balmy days. Sports fans will appreciate three screens scattered throughout. The music comes via Pandora and fluctuates; one night it's Toubab Krewe-based, pleasing the guitar lovers around me to no end, at brunch the starting point is Jamiroquai, so we get selections as varied as Stevie Wonder and Daft Punk. Another evening it's all blues. The musical range makes for a slightly different vibe each time, a plus for regulars.
And that's key. On all three of my visits, I overhear at least one person telling the server that it isn't a first visit, so Galley is already doing a good job of ensuring repeat business. S
2805 Hathaway Road
Monday-Friday 11a.m.-close (usually 11 p.m.)
Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-close