Milano's lacking spice

TAKEOUT

October 20, 2004|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The area of Parkville near Joppa Road and the Beltway is nobody's idea of far-sighted suburban planning. Busy streets funnel into overstressed intersections and crowded parking lots.

Amid all that sits Milano's, an unassuming and perfectly adequate restaurant. Inside this standard-looking beige box of a building is a bar on one side and, on the other, a dining room and, of course, a carryout counter.

Milano's has most of the standard features we've come to expect - some video-poker machines in the bar, not one but two pudgy pizza-chef statues and paintings of Mediterranean vistas.

Milano's has been churning out pizza and sandwiches since the Carter administration, and has gotten the basics down pretty well.

All of our food was adequate and the ingredients seemed fresh, but nothing we tried left much of an impression. Spices, anyone?

The best offering was the pizza ($6.95 for a small plain), which came with a fresh thick crust and plenty of cheese. No complaints there.

We tried several of the Greek items on Milano's extensive menus. A small Greek salad featured iceberg lettuce and feta cheese but no surprises. Dolmas ($5.50) were stuffed with rice and looked lovely, but lacked any distinguishable flavor, except for the accompanying tzatziki.

Greek soup ($3.25) was a bust - bland tomato broth, with some carrots, celery and orzo, but the spanakopita ($5.50) was better, with plenty of spinach inside a nicely prepared crust.

Chicken souvlaki ($6.50), featuring chunks of breast meat, tomatoes and tzatziki in a fresh pita, was a success. Finally, we liked the linguine with sun-dried tomatoes ($11.95), which was served in a heart-stopping cream sauce. The tangy tomatoes provided some much-needed pop to the meal. It came with a large serving of buttery but bland garlic bread.

Milano's carries several desserts, including cannoli, cheesecake and baklava. We tried the carrot cake ($3.50), which had nice icing, but was a bit dry.

Service was friendly, though a little methodical. There is a good-sized parking lot at the restaurant, but getting there involves navigating those busy Parkville roads.

Milano's

Food: **1/2

Service: **1/2

Waiting area: **1/2

Parking: **

Where: 8811 Waltham Woods Road, Parkville

Phone: 410-661-4352

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily

Prices: Pizza, subs, soups, salads, pasta, Greek specialties and entrees, $3.25 to $16.95; credit cards accepted

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

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