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Galaxy ($$); Bravoo ($$$)

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Galaxy ($$)

Once an overly bright retro diner, its intergalactic cuteness has been buried under somber tiles, glass-encased booths and piped-in blues.

The Galaxy has not changed ownership, but new chef Ed Vasaio of Mamma 'Zu brings a fresh menu. The conventional lunch and brunch menus offer local favorites ($4.95 to $10.95), and the dinner menu is especially pleasing.

Starters include a generous wilted-spinach salad ($6.95) and steamed mussels in tomato broth ($10.95), while entrees include a range of pastas for $10.95 and a risotto of the day.

The prices go up for shrimp fra diavolo ($17.95), seared venison chops with porcini cabernet sauce ($23.95), and an exceptional pan-seared duck breast ($22.95). The duck was served rare, as requested, and was sliced thin and topped with sauce. The accompanying grilled polenta lacked salt, but the white beans were full of flavor and texture.

Desserts include a surprisingly light strawberry creme brulee ($5.95) and a mascarpone-rich tiramisu ($5.95). — Kevin Finucane

3109 W. Cary St.
213-0507

Lunch:
Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Saturday 11a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday, Sunday 5 p.m. — 10 p.m.
Friday - Saturday 5 p.m. — 11 p.m.

Bravoo ($$$)

I was really looking forward to being a first-timer at Bravoo, an Italian restaurant stashed away in the back of Midlothian Green Shopping Center. The menu online looked delicious — lots of mozzarella, sauces of all flavors, fresh pasta and plenty of garlic, all prepared in the Northern Italian tradition.

Our waitress showed up promptly and took our orders for drinks and dinner. We also chose a half order of Bravoo bread— baked Italian bread topped with arugula, mozzarella, tomato, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and fresh basil ($3.75). The combination was very tasty. Forty minutes later — yes, 40 — our dinners were served. During that time, we did not see our waitress.

My dinner of veal piccata and angel-hair pasta ($19.95), usually a foolproof choice, was fine but not fabulous. B.P.'s saltimbocca ($18.95) was swimming in a sauce that also resembled brown gravy rather than the promised Marsala wine and fresh sage. Ah, well — what's a detail or two?

It must mean something that Bravoo was booked solid on a Saturday night. But our experience was soured, maybe some of the staff didn't show up that night.

Elizabeth Cogar

9930 Midlothian Turnpike
Midlothian Green
Shopping Center
320-8029
Monday-Thursday 5-9 p.m.
Friday - Saturday 5-10 p.m.
Reservations recommended.

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