Take the last train to Clarksville, and I'll meet you at the station."
Those 1960s lyrics and the image of a grinning Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees came to mind as we waited for our order the other day at Clarksville Station, an unassuming but successful carryout in western Howard County.
The Station is in the middle of a small shopping strip along state Route 108. There are about 10 tables in a high-ceilinged space decorated with handsome vintage train posters.
The restaurant has been open for a little more than a year and delivers in the area. Our order was slow to arrive, but our server put a nice face on things, apologizing for the delay and noting that everything is made fresh. Indeed, all of our food seemed to have been made with a bit more tender, loving care than you might expect.
We started with chicken-noodle soup ($2.35), which was hearty and well-seasoned. A large tossed salad with grilled chicken ($5.99) included big strips of meat that had been heavily seasoned and were quite delicious. The salad came with two crescent-shaped rolls that were infused with bits of garlic - perhaps too much garlic for even this garlic lover.
The grilled burger ($5.95) featured a nice-sized slab of beef on a fresh roll, and a mountain of french fries - altogether a fine offering. On something of a red-meat jag, we also tried the Philly cheese steak ($5.95), which was thick and cheesy, but came without ketchup, a key ingredient.
The Station offers two dozen types of pizza, many with annoyingly cute names - Hogwarts Express, for example, which comes with chicken pieces, pesto sauce and roasted peppers. We tried the San Mario ($8.95), which was topped with cheese, ground beef, onions and spices. There was nothing special about the toppings, but the crust was fresh and the pizza was definitely above-average.
Finally, the Herbivore's Favorite pasta ($9.95) was delicious, a nice combination of eggplant, broccoli, red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and other veggies in a light sauce over a good-sized serving of penne pasta.
The Station mentions desserts on the menu, but had only ice cream during our visit. Given the arctic conditions outside, we passed.
Service: ** 1/2
Waiting area: ***
Parking: *** 1/2
Where: 12345 Wake Forest Road, Clarksville
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
Prices: Appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, pizza and calzones, $2.35 to $16.95; credit cards accepted
Outstanding: ****; Good: ***; Fair or uneven: **; Poor: *