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San Francisco Bay Area Santa Clara

Athena Grill Santa we're getting somewhere


Restaurants & Bars 8

Athena Grill Santa we're getting somewhere

Ken Hoffman | Jul 7, 2006 04:14 PM

Tucked away in an industrial park, not far from the norhtern terminus of the San Jose airport runway, sits a most unlikley Bay Area rarity, a good Greek taverna style sit down restaurant. The outdoor seating area is charming, covered with a curved yellow awing with crawling plants covering its metal ribbed supports. The interior is classic Greek joint with white and blue table cloths, whitewashed walls, idyllic scenes of the Cyclades and goodies for sale including Vaso's family estate Kalamata EVOO and a wide range of desserts.
We got comped salads for having to wait a little while for our server and they were if not exactely authentic, they were very fresh with a sprightly vinegrette that dazzled the buds.
Also presented was a generous basket of toasted pita wedges and leavened bread slices that could be dressed with a complimnetary heaoing serving of taramosalta, the fish roe, oil whip that tastes wonderfully like fishy mayo. More importantly, I ordered the tirokafteri, a magnificent whipped concotion feta cheese, metzithra, ricotta, hot peppers and olive oil (described on the menu as spicy but mild---it is was neither) but it was good...very good and completely a unique flavor combination for me.

On to the main courses. Being the first time there we opted for combo platters so we could get a lay of the land. Highlites:
1. Mousaka-- a timeless towering temple of what is good in Greece all stacked up to taste in one bite. Meat, eggplant, potatoes, lemony bechmel, this was a good one
2. Pastisio-- even better than 1. It's mousaka minus the eggplant/potato and plus small tube pasta. I loved the dense meat ragu which left a reddish oil streak on the plate, great for mopping up.
3. Spankopita--usually a greasy, coalesced mess, this stood out as flaky, greaeless with very identifiable/ flavorful spinach and feta filling..lovely and quickly consumed
4. Dolmades--I love and can rarely find the meat and rice combo filling that these chubby winners had inside and the warm lemon sauce really helped things along.
5. Falafel..not strictly Greek but did a good job with crisp exterior and bright green fava bean interior...worth a try
Not so great: Biftekia ( overdone burger), loukanika (overdone sausage), gyro (seemd pre-prepared)

The desserts are house made and if you love Greek sweets they have top notch baklava, galaktoboureko (filo with custrd and lemon zest), ravani (almond cake) and greek cookies.

Athena Grill
1505 Space Park Dr
Santa Clara, CA 95054

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