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December 10, 2009

Greektown: the other Little Italy

AcropolisChops.jpgOther Reviewer Richard reviewed the Acropolis in today's paper, and within the review he discusses the restaurant as part of Greektown and says what role he sees the other restaurants there having.

I don't think of Greektown as a neighborhood of restaurants in the same way as I do Little Italy, but of course it is.

The four he mentioned, Ikaros, Samos, Zorba and the Acropolis, are the mainstays; but over the years other Greek restaurants have come and gone, and I think I reviewed most of them. ...

None of them had much staying power.

I'm not sure why these survived and the others didn't. Some of them were pretty good. But the one thing that never happened was that an upscale Greek restaurant tried to open in the neighborhood (that I remember).

And before you say "upscale Greek restaurant" is an oxymoron, consider the now-closed Taverna Athena in Harborplace, or the also closed Opa! on Aliceanna, which both did pretty well while they were around.

Or, of course, the best example of them all: the Black Olive in Fells Point.


(Algerina Perna/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:19 PM | | Comments (22)


I always enjoyed the Athenian on Eastern Ave..which moved to the Inner Harbor as Taverna Athena that was not on my go to list..and then the owners opened OPA on Aliceanna which I also enjoyed but then came that flood.....
Not sure what the owners are doing these days but I would hope they get back into the food business

Great review. I've yet to get to Greektown for a dining experience.

gyros...yes, gyros...
It's the sour cream and cucumber dressing, I think, that does it.
Somebody gave me a box of baklava a while back and every time I put a piece in my mouth, it would just melt away and I thought I was transported... to a warm island where women wore thin linen and tasted salty. Ah! I strung the bow and shot an arrow through twelve axe heads. They trembled. Then I set out to find the place where somebody would mistake my oar for a winnowing fan. There would I live until the end of my days.

VANCES barrie (my Spaghetti Western name)

Well it took you long enough, Cleatus. I feel like I've been waiting here forever, with nothing to do but work on this weaving project; every night I unravel it and then start over again the next day. Want to finish it soon 'cause it's going to be a Xmas tree skirt.

I think you could call Grapevine in Cockeysville upscale Greek.

Nothing to add about the Greek, but my captcha is "that nitwits".

Cleatus, I'm pretty sure the sauce you're referring to is tzatziki, which is yogurt, not sour cream based.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle, GI JOOOEEE!!!!

A sly point to Laura Lee!

The most important part of Greektown to understand is the open air drug market it has become, particularly the part which goes from Ponca to Oldham, and from Eastern to Fleet. It is disgraceful. Additionally, there is the selling done right out in the open on Gough and Bank Streets in Greektown as well. I was last there a couple weeks ago and even witnessed a transaction in a parking lot adjacent to an alley off of Fleet street. Some restaurant experience. I will not be returning for a while.

I'll go down to Ikaros a couple of times a year, but I'd probably go more often if there was more vibrancy in the area. In many ways Baltimore's Greektown is pretty boring, especially when compared with its counterparts in place like Chicago and Detroit.

I have family that still lives in Greektown. My parents are both from Greece. THe other writer is right. It is a disgrace to see the drug activity in the neighborhood and many of the people involoved are my fellow Greeks, not just others that have come into the neighborhood.. My favorite place in Greeektown is Zorba's.

Corey: tzatziki..tzatschmeeki. I would submit that yogurt with vinegar or lemon juice is virtual sour cream.

Laurie Lee: I was unavoidably detained. By a cyclops, then a siren, then a chick with some far out herbs.

Montdair pickles (my deli manager name)

Yoghurt and sour cream aren't the same, but they have enough similarities that in many dishes one can be substituted for the other in a pinch.

Captcha: that funkiest

"Unavoidably detained"? You expect me to believe that, Cleatus? I wasn't born yesterday! Cyclops? You'll be lucky to have one good eye left when I'm done with you! Sirens? Ever hear of earplugs? They sell them down at the swim shop. Oh, that's right, you hate to go near the water. So don't tell me you've been hanging out with Island Girl. Listen, I've had a few gentlemen callers myself and I'm starting to think maybe I've put them off long enough...

Laura Lee: But look, I've brought you a gift of such beautiful lyre.

It's Tiger's caddy.

He's eager to tell you where I've been holing up-—er—hanging is a family newspaper, right?

Morrison rareness (my grill chef name)

Oh Cleatus, forget about that harpy and come back to me. You can bring your lyre and caddy and any of your other pals with you. We'll dine on cheese, barley meal, honey and wine. I promise, no pigs. But a tiger would feel right at home here.

Your classics professors would be smiling.

Nall valdez (borrowing a line from Cleatus, this would be my South of the Border name)

I hear and obey.

diderot Christiansen (my Austrian slalom champion name)

Cleatus, you ridiculous mortal. When will you ever learn? You'll never get home if you just keep wandering from one woman to the next. And who has to bail you out of trouble each time? Me, that's who!

Alright, time to throw on the disguise again. Let's shrivel your skin, remove the russet curls from your head, and dim the fire in your eyes. There, that should do it. Now, go make something of yourself.

Oh tell your Aunt Louise, tell anything you please
Myself already knows that I'm okay
Oh you can tell my eyes to watch out for my mind
It might be walking out on me today

But don't tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
I just don't think he'd understand
And if you tell my heart, my achy breaky heart
He might blow up and kill this man

atomic enormous (my WWW Smackdown name)

"pumping Tagliavini", a weight lifting tenor?

Ikaros has gone downhill. Went there for lunch recently. The only thing that was good before was the calamari and I was served a totally spoiled plate of it .So that is off my list now. The Pastisio and Moussaka are not very good either. And definitely stay away from the meat items such as souvlaki or lamb chops. On my most recent visit they have even managed to now ruin their house dressing by watering it down. The saganaki and tarama are the worst I have ever had. This place should just close the door. Samos and Zorba's are the only good place to eat in Baltimore's Greektown.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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