By Karen Talbot, Food Critic
Mar. 22, 2017: Authentic Portuguese food is right around the corner in Mount Vernon, tucked on a quiet side street near the railroad station. As far as I know, this is the only restaurant in the area serving Portuguese food, along with some American food choices. As you enter the restaurant, you step into the bar area, which has seating and was fairly busy; beyond that is a separate dining room very simply decorated.
For appetizers, I recommend the grilled Portuguese sausage, better known as chorizo, which was served crispy and favorably spicy, allowing one to lap up the sauce with the good bread that they serve. It was served with pickled carrots, cauliflower, and black olives, which made for a nice contrast between spicy and cool. My other suggestion is the clams served with fresh cilantro, garlic, and olive oil, which was also very good.
As a main course, Portuguese pork and clams (alentejana), which is a favorite of mine, had the right ingredients and was tasty, but, unfortunately, the pork was a little overdone. Another typical Portuguese entrée was layered codfish with crispy roasted potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and black olives. The codfish was dry and served with too much olive oil. Both these dishes were served in such large portions that they could easily have served two. Shrimp Marsala, a special of the night, was very good and was cooked in a tomato-based sauce with special spices, onions, and peppers.
To round out our meal, both the cappuccino and the espresso were rich in flavor and were the perfect finishing touch. The prices are modest, with appetizers such as shrimp patties and codfish cakes priced at $4.00 each, with the most expensive appetizer being sautéed shrimp in a garlic sauce for $11.00. A seafood paella, another popular entrée here, is priced at $27.00.
The owner, Jose Santos, took over the restaurant about a year ago and the chef is Fatima Pinto. Our server, Riccardo, answered any questions that we had in a friendly and nice way.
Directions from Bronxville: Take Gramatan Avenue south into Mount Vernon, and roughly two blocks before the bridge, turn left onto East Prospect Avenue, continue straight past Foodtown and Rite Aid on your left, turn right at the light on Park Avenue (for about 50 yards), and then turn immediately left (just before the bridge) onto Elm Avenue. Continue several blocks on Elm, and Galitos is on the left. (There is currently no sign above the door of this restaurant, making it somewhat hard to find in the dark.)
Photo courtesy the owner, Jose Santos