My grandfather was very loyal to certain restaurants. He knew the owner, the menu, and most importantly, the wait staff. A meal for him was much more than showing up, having a cocktail, eating food, and paying the check. For him it was equally about connecting with other people and learning a little bit (or a lot) of their life's story. For a number of years, he called Li'l Joe's Pub in Bath, Ohio, his home away from home. This was where he would go to unwind, have a Manhattan (or two) and order one of his favorites from the menu, like the linguine with white clam sauce. Sadly, Li'l Joe's closed down a number of years ago (although Papa Joe's is still going strong) and in its place today are the Ken Stewart power duo of Tre Belle and The Lodge.
Without a place to go on a regular basis, my grandfather sought the comforts of an eatery much closer to where he lived in Wadsworth, the Galaxy Restaurant. At the time it was just a restaurant and banquet facility, but over the years a pub, wine room, and small market have been added. While I have eaten on and off at this restaurant for over a dozen years since it originally opened, it wasn't until I saw fellow food blogger CJ's review on CJ's Real Deals on Meals that I realized that with all of the Wadsworth restaurants I HAD reviewed, for some reason I missed this one.
I decided to stop out today for a late lunch and do a formal review of them. The facility was located right off of I-76 and Rt. 94. The address was 201 Park Center Drive, Wadsworth, OH 44281 and they can be reached at 330-334-3663. Parking was available in a lot that surrounds the entire building. Here was the sign that delineated where the property began:
Once I had parked, I walked up to the entrance (there were several) that was most closely connected with the dining room:
Fortunately, once you are inside, there is a connecting hallway that runs the length of the building from the banquet facilities to the pub. The dining room seemed particularly empty and when the woman manning the hostess booth returned to her station, she said that I could eat in the dining room if I wanted to or I could enjoy myself (and the same lunch menu) over in the pub. Figuring that there would at least be a television or two to entertain me while I ate, I chose to walk past the small market to the pub entrance.
After being seated, I was handed the menu:
While the menu has evolved and adapted over the years, there were still some old stalwarts in existence on the menu today: The chicken salad has been a long-time favorite of my grandmother's. When I saw that they were offering hand breaded onion rings, I decided to pair them with one of the sandwiches. But first, I was in the mood for either a cup of soup or a small salad. Interestingly, some of the salads offered were plated in either half or full portions. When I saw the spinach salad with bacon and hard boiled egg AND that it was available in a half size, I was hooked.
Here was my spinach salad:
This was a HALF portion! It was huge. I can only imagine how large the full portion would be. The salad came pre-dressed with a red wine vinaigrette and while I was initially worried that it would come swimming in dressing, I was pleasantly surprised that it was dressed perfectly. Besides the spinach leaves, the salad had cooked and chopped bacon, egg, mushrooms, red onion slivers, shredded carrots, and in an unusual twist, fresh bean sprouts.
First, the good. The dressing had a nice balance to it between the sweet and the sour. The spinach was very fresh and crunchy. The bacon added nice bursts of saltiness to the dish. The bean sprouts, even with all of the other flavors going on, easily sang through the other flavors, but didn't overpower the symphony of flavors. Second, the not-so-good. The mushrooms were slimy. There was barely any egg in the salad. The dressing needed more salt. Nevertheless, I finished my portion.
While I already knew I would be upgrading my order today to take advantage of the onion rings, I wasn't quite sure with which sandwich I would pair it. I let my gaze fall across the "Sandwiches" section of the menu until it eventually gravitated to the Chicken Parmesan sandwich served on a toasted hoagie roll. This was what I would order today.
Here was a shot of my lunch as it arrived from the kitchen:
First, let's talk about the Chicken Parmesan sandwich:
The bun was fresh and nicely toasted, with the exception of the spine, where sauce had compromised the integrity of the bun and turned it into a marinara mush. The rather large and awkward piece of fried-from-frozen chicken didn't sit very well on the hoagie bun and I had to use my knife to more or less cut it into multiple pieces and wedge it between the two halves. The marinara looked a little bit scant in terms of portion size, but when I finally bit into the sandwich, it turned out to be an adequate amount of sauce. Picking up my newly adjusted sandwich, I took a bite and was rewarded with hot, but completely dry chicken meat. It wasn't dessicated, but neither was it juicy. The sandwich was ... eh, okay.
I next turned my attention to the onion rings:
First, the good. The breading was tasty and not greasy. Clearly these had been hand breaded just before frying. On onion rings that had some thickness to them, the sweet flavor from the onion was a nice balance to the saltiness of the coating. Overall, these were decent rings. Second, the bad. Not very many of the rings were thick enough to provide the proper sweet contrast to the savory outside coating. Many of the rings were so thin before frying that they became like onion jerky. Finally, clearly these had been hand breaded just before frying. Yes, yes, gentle reader, I know I listed that in the positives column. Let me explain. Because they hadn't had time to sit with the coating on them before frying, as you touched each ring, heck, if you breathed in the wrong direction, the coating on the rings would shatter and fall off. It became almost an exercise in futility to try and get a ring with coating into your mouth.
Accompanying the onion rings today was a side of Bistro Sauce. While it looked like Thousand Island dressing, when I tasted it, the additional flavors of sweet pickle relish and a spiciness of some type, perhaps cayenne, also came into play. The sauce actually went well with the onion rings, but because the rings were so nicely seasoned, I didn't use very much of the sauce. My server, distressed that I hadn't like the sauce because I had placed it on the table instead of on my plate, asked me if I didn't like it. I assured him that everything was fine and I had only placed it on the table to give me more room on the plate.
With tax and suitable tip, my lunch today (I had a glass of water) came to $19. Now, $19 isn't exactly cheap for lunch, and given the quality of the lunch I did have, I'd say the value today was a bit in question. While the Galaxy (and especially the pub) have served as a popular meeting spot for out-of-town friends who need a spot for a pint of their favorite frosty beverage and a bite to eat, for this kind of money, the food really ought to be stellar. I do intend to return to review the dinner menu in the dining room. Since lunch is the same no matter where you sit, I hope that this review gave you a good idea of what to expect should you decide to go for yourself.