A friend and I stumbled into Helen's Garden last night for dinner. I didn't remember reading anything about it on the board. Doing a search today I didn't come up with any substantial commentary and certainly nothing recent, so I thought I would post a review for future hounds.
For a Friday night around 8, we were pleasantly surprised to find absolutely no wait for a table. (The bar, however, was packed.) It's housed in what appears to be a renovated rowhome, and the upstairs retains that homey feeling with low lights, exposed brick walls and wooden railings.
After we were seated, water glasses were filled pretty quickly and we were asked for our drink order. The service remained consistent the entire evening. Which is to say, while there were no mistakes and we wanted for nothing, it wasn't particularly pleasant either. Maybe the waitress was very busy or just didn't want to be a waitress that night, but she had a curt manner of speaking and reacted oddly to requests (eg. for a glass of wine or to substitute vegetables for rice), like it was a hassle. She also failed to mention a $2 charge for substituting vegetables of which, while I was happy to pay, I would have liked to have been informed when I made the request since I didn't see it stated on the menu.
For my entree, I chose one of the evening's specials, skewers of tuna and mako with a sesame carrot salad. The fish was a little overcooked, but had a nice seared crust on it with a tasty marinade, so I was perfectly content to eat it. The carrot salad was good, and my $2-extra veggie side was an interesting mix of roasted onion and herbed tomato paste. It doesn't sound appetizing put that way, but I don't know how else to describe it, and it was actually quite good. Both my companion and I really enjoyed it.
My friend got their Greek shrimp dish with artichokes and some other veggies. I tried one of the shrimp and it, luckily, did not suffer from being overcooked like my seafood. It was plump and tasted strongly of a rosemary (and maybe oregano) sauce. I liked the bit I tried, and my friend seemed very happy with her meal.
Once during the evening a man, who I can only assume was either the manager or owner (or both), came by to thank us for coming and wish us a good meal. I saw him at various points during the night delivering food to tables and filling water glasses. Then, on our way out, he again thanked us profusely and asked how everything was. I have to say, I do like a place where it is clear the management really cares!
Overall, I would rate Helen's Garden a solid B. The meals were perfectly fine, the atmosphere great, and the prices were reasonable for the generous portions. If I were in Canton again I would certainly not object to going back.