The Acropolis is a good Greek restaurant. But not a great one. In other cities, this might be the standard for Greek fare, but in Baltimore, with its sizable Greek community and multiplicity of choice when it comes to eating Greek food, Acropolis comes up half a notch short -- both in what it serves and in the setting.
Granted, it does have some very positive attributes, such as prices. For $6.95, you can have baked chicken with roasted potatoes. For $12.95, flounder stuffed with crab imperial. For $18.95, the most expensive item on the menu, lobster tail stuffed with crab imperial.
Baked chicken and two vegetables for $6.95? That's cheap. Another positive: Portions are big. Big enough that we took home part of every course except for desserts, which were included in the price of the meal -- another nice touch.
If, however, you're including factors other than price in your dining decisions, Acropolis' appeal lessens a tad.
For one thing, the dining room is such a big room, the floor plan unbroken by anything except the service bar, that there is practically no ambience. Intimate dining this is not. The room is not crowded, just big. When packed, which it wasn't the Saturday night we were there, the potential for noise would seem to be significant.
For another, my husband and I both like our Greek food full-flavored. Fuller-flavored than we found at Acropolis. Against what Baltimoreans have come to expect from their Greek restaurants, Acropolis misses the mark a bit.
We began, however, with a pleasant surprise -- a Greek Village Salad that, at $5 for a large serving, was clearly the best we have had in Baltimore. Chunks of surprisingly ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, green peppers and potatoes -- yes, potatoes -- were accented by cured black olives, peppers, onions and a light dusting of oregano. There's a choice of dressings, a creamy house or shakers of oil and vinegar. With the oil and vinegar, the salad was fresh, light, charming.
The excellent bread served with the salad added to our pleasure.
Next, we had a Cheese Pie and a Spinach Pie, $1.95 each. The spinach was better, with a fairly full flavor in appropriately flaky phyllo pastry. The cheese, though, lacked the kick it should have had.
For entrees, I had the Broiled Whole Baby Flounder, $10.95, from a nightly specials menu that included seven kinds of broiled and three kinds of stuffed fish.
My flounder was good, though the dish was a little oily. I couldn't tell whether the oily taste came from the fish itself or from the olive oil sauce.
My husband had Braised Lamb ($8.95). To the Acropolis' credit, the lamb, in a tomato sauce, was less fatty than we often find in Greek restaurants. On the other hand, he was more impressed with his vegetables than with the main course.
For side dishes, we both had roasted potatoes and green beans in tomato sauce. The potatoes could hold their own against any Greek restaurant's. The beans, unfortunately, could not, seeming not to have been simmered long enough or with enough seasoning to acquire the rich, rounded taste that has long made this dish one of our favorite vegetables.
The rice pudding I had for dessert was on the watery side. My husband's Galaktoboureko, in contrast, was superb, with the custard and phyllo melding beautifully under a clear sauce.
Service was average, neither lacking nor memorable.
With two drinks and a half-bottle of wine, the tab came to a quite reasonable $43.36, especially given that we leaving full -- and with several doggy bags. If only we had left as satisfied with the taste of the meal and the surroundings as with the price.
4714-4718 Eastern Ave.
675-3384 and 675-7882
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily except Monday.
Reservations: Recommended on weekends.
Credit cards: Major credit cards accepted.
Handicapped access: Limited.
Smoking area: No designated area.