Well-done favorites at Greek Taverna

TAKEOUT

Nearly everything was good to excellent

April 16, 2003|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The walls of the newly opened Greek Taverna II Family Restaurant are painted a pretty sky blue, no doubt reminiscent of the waters of the Aegean or the sky over the Greek islands.

The restaurant, sister to the Greek Taverna in Silver Spring, occupies a space once held by a barbecue restaurant in the Hickory Ridge Village Center in Columbia. On the blue walls are paintings of Greek scenes and a few posters, while Greek music plays on the speakers.

There are several tables and a full-service bar where you can wait for your carryout order. Service was brisk and friendly.

Nearly everything we had was somewhere between good and excellent. The soup of the day, avgolemono ($2.75), was a delicious version of the traditional recipe with chicken broth, lemon, eggs, carrot bits and rice.

A Greek salad with salmon ($8.95) included fresh greens, olives and good feta cheese, with a large piece of divine broiled salmon. And we loved the lamb shish kebab ($8.95), which came with several nice chunks of grilled meat, peppers and onions, as well as baked carrots.

Chicken souvlaki ($6.95) was a gooey but tasty combination of meat, lettuce, fixings and tzatziki sauce.

Finally, the Greek sampler platter ($15.95) included a host of well-done favorites. Among them was a good-sized portion of moussaka, a kind of Greek lasagna, which brought together layers of eggplant, ground beef and chopped potatoes, all covered with a light-as-air, nutmeg-scented bechamel sauce. And a spanakopita was lemony and fresh-tasting. The pieces of lamb included in the platter were a bit tired and not nearly as good as the grilled pieces used in the shish kebab.

There are a couple of non-Greek items on the menu - spaghetti and meat balls and burgers, for example, and grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs for the kids. We ordered chicken fingers for the official chicken-finger taster, and they were deemed just fine.

The only off note: The baklava we ordered didn't show up with our food, which was a pity. The restaurant also serves rice pudding and galataboureko, a phyllo-wrapped custard. All are $2.75.

Parking is plentiful in front of the restaurant.

Greek Taverna II

Food: * * * 1/2

Waiting area: * * *

Parking: * * * 1/2

Where: 6420 Freetown Road, Hickory Ridge Village Center, Columbia

Phone: 410-531-0326; fax: 443-535-9250

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday

Prices: Soups and appetizers from $2.75 to $12.95; entrees: $4.99 to $17.99; credit cards accepted

Outstanding: * * * *; Good: * * *; Fair or uneven: * *; Poor: *

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