Athena One: new place to explore in Canton


October 15, 2003|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

There's nothing like a brand-new carryout restaurant to get the heart racing with excitement.

Could this be the one? The place with the extra-special gyro or meatball sub?

That's what I was thinking as I ventured into the Athena One Restaurant and Carry Out in Canton. Open for only two months, the Athena One is decorated with paintings of Greece with lots of pale blue and white. In a fitting East Baltimore touch, there are also two video poker machines (for amusement only, the sign reminds us).

The restaurant offers reasonably priced Greek, Italian and American food. I ordered a little of each and the staff had the food ready in just a few minutes. An hour later, the results were in - no amazing breakthroughs, but plenty of fair-to-good dishes.

The cheese pizza - only $3.95 - was better than average, with a thick crust and deeply browned cheese. The cheese steak ($4.25) brought back onion-flavored memories of the Rehoboth boardwalk.

In the Greek section of the menu, the chicken souvlaki ($4.95) suffered from bland tzatziki sauce but was otherwise more than adequate. And a good Greek salad ($5.95) featured fresh romaine lettuce and an oregano-infused chunk of feta cheese.

Things were less successful in the land of Italian pastas. Mussels marinara ($8.25) bathed a large serving of spaghetti in a decent tomato sauce. But the six mussels on top were overcooked and chewy. Linguine Bolognese ($7.50) featured a light tomato sauce with ground beef - nothing special, but not offensive, either.

It's worth mentioning that the restaurant has a deal that made the Italian dishes a bit more palatable: Buy one pasta dish and get a second for half price.

Athena One has only a few desserts. The rice pudding ($1.50) was a bit chalky, according to one member of my tasting party. The baklava ($2.95) was better - sweet and "perfectly edible."

The restaurant is also open for breakfast, serving omelets, French toast, hot cakes and even a little scrapple.

There's plenty of free on-street parking nearby and the restaurant will deliver in Fells Point and Canton ($8 minimum).

Athena One

Food: ** 1/2

Service: *** 1/2

Waiting area: ***

Parking: ***

Where: 3300 O'Donnell St., Canton

Phone: 410-563-7777

Fax: 410-563-7779

Hours: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday

Prices: Greek, Italian and American sandwiches, salads, pizza and entrees, from $3.95 to $12.95; credit cards accepted

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

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