At Mylos, dining is a treat, and you're treated like family

EATS

Dining For $25 Or Less

March 16, 2006|By KAREN NITKIN | KAREN NITKIN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Expect to be nurtured as well as nourished at Mylos, a welcome addition to the competitive restaurant scene in the Greektown section of Eastern Avenue.

The year-old restaurant offers classic Greek fare - everything from stuffed grape leaves and cucumber-yogurt dip to moussaka and gyros, with baklava for dessert. The twist here is that it's all homemade, from the breads to the bechamel, and it's all dispensed with a heaping portion of mothering.

Eating at Mylos, we felt as though we were visiting a beloved relative. We were offered a bread with a crisp crust and dusted with sesame seeds called lagana, because it was Lent. We were told that the chocolate cake didn't look so good and were given a free portion of gently warmed galaktompoureko (a kind of custard pie) instead.

When we ordered coffee, we were urged to try the Greek coffee. When we asked which was better, the chicken Chesapeake ($18.95) or the chicken kebab ($11.95), we were given a look that clearly - but gently - said that we were crazy to ask. In a Greek restaurant, you get the kebab. And we were told to get it with rice.

No consideration seemed to be given to the fact that the kebab was much cheaper - this was about giving customers the best, not about getting the most money from them.

"I try to do it like you are eating at home," says Popi Giorgakis, who is in charge of the cooking.

She and her son, Nick, had plenty of experience working at local diners - he at the Towson Diner, she at Nautilus - before they opened Mylos. The interior is simple and welcoming, with a bar on one side and a dining area adorned with a mural of Greece on one wall. Greek music played.

Though the menu includes a few non-Greek choices, including a crab pretzel, burgers and barbecue chicken wings, it seems silly to order anything but the Greek food, which was uniformly yummy.

Dips provided a good starting point. The melitzanosalata ($3.50), a creamy-smooth eggplant dip, was made potent with giant slices of raw garlic, while the tzatziki ($3.50) combined the tanginess of rich Greek yogurt with the soothing mildness of cucumber. Another dip, the taramosalata ($3.50), featured a thick block of cream cheese dusted with fish roe.

But the best appetizer was the stuffed grape leaves, served warm and covered with a lemon sauce that Popi makes for this dish. The leaves were rolled around a hearty mix of seasoned rice studded with bits of lamb and beef, creating a perfect contrast between the lightness of the leaves and the richness of the filling.

At $5.95 for six, this appetizer was large enough to serve as a meal. But that would mean missing the moussaka ($11.95), a giant slab of fried eggplant covered by potatoes, ground beef, bechamel and a sprightly tomato sauce, the whole thing dusted with parmesan cheese. Or the chicken kebabs, with tender marinated meat speared alongside tomatoes, peppers and onions.

And then there was the broiled seafood platter ($18.95), a buttery slice of tender flounder, seasoned with Old Bay, two plump and spicy shrimp and an admirably lumpy crab cake.

Entrees come with a side dish, either a generous Greek salad or an enormous plate of Greek string beans, simmered in a tomato sauce.

Desserts included the custard pie ($2.95), served warm so the honey on top melted into the creamy-firm flan, and, of course, baklava ($2.95), prepared with as much love and attention as everything else on the menu, with crisp layers of filo, plenty of ground pistachios and lots of honey.

It seems as though Mylos hasn't received the attention it deserves. On a recent Sunday night, only a couple of other tables were occupied. My advice is to check it out.

Mylos Restaurant and Bar

Where:

4619 Eastern Ave., Baltimore

Call:

410-342-7753

Open:

Daily 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Credit cards:

All major

Prices:

Appetizers $3.50-$12.95, entrees $10.95-$19.25

Food:

*** (3 STARS)

Service:

*** 1/2 (3 1/2 STARS)

Atmosphere:

*** (3 STARS)

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

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