Character isn't its strong suit

TAKEOUT

October 22, 2003|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Some restaurants seem determined to be characterless.

I'm sure you know the kind of place. The menus are predictable, the seasonings are bland and everything is just perfectly and utterly OK.

I'd have to lump Carroll's Carryout in that category.

Carroll's sits in a no-frills strip on Greenspring Drive in Timonium. A tanning salon neighbors it on one side, a tae-kwon-do facility on the other, while the view out front is of rented storage garages.

In its busy Timonium surroundings, Carroll's surely fills a need for quick, inexpensive food.

Is the food bad? Not really. Is it good? From what I tried, only if you're very hungry. And there isn't much decor to provide a little distraction, unless you count the Keno terminals and the video-poker machines. The long, narrow space is decorated with an industrial-strength brown carpet, a couple of sports posters and a huge soda case.

The menu includes the basics: sandwiches, subs, salads, burgers and pizza.

We skipped the pizza and tried a bunch of sandwiches and fried food. Buffalo wings ($4.25 for six) were greasy and didn't draw much praise from my official tasters. Chicken strips ($4.95) featured large pieces deep-fried and coated in an unremarkable batter.

A meatball sub ($4.25) included four meatballs in a too-sweet tomato sauce, with melted provolone. The chicken-salad sandwich ($4) was made with nice big pieces of meat, but once again cried out for a little seasoning - even a little pepper or celery salt.

Finally, the fried-chicken platter ($6.25) was slightly overcooked, leaving the meat too dry. The potato salad needed something to perk it up, but the french fries were quite good. We would have tried the soup ($2.25 for a small serving), but our helper forgot to pack it.

Carroll's sells doughnuts and other gooey desserts. We sampled lemon meringue pie ($1.25), which somehow managed to be neither sweet nor tangy.

Carroll's serves breakfast beginning at 5 a.m., featuring eggs, omelets, pancakes and creamed chipped beef.

There's parking out front in a cramped lot, but watch out for the tae-kwon-do students.

Carroll's Carry out

Food: **

Service: ** 1/2

Waiting area: ** 1/2

Parking: **

Where: 2185 Greenspring Drive, Timonium

Phone: 410-252-6151

Hours: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Prices: Hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, subs, platters and pizza from $1.50 to $8.50; credit cards not accepted

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

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