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Athena Pallas, Michael and Kallia Kosmides' Old Style Greek Restuarant on S. 22nd Street in Crystal City

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I have been looking for an opportunity to get to Athena Pallas ever since I heard that grilled octopus was on the menu. I made it there today, and I was pleasantly surprised.

At lunch, the grilled octopus is an appetizer, so I ordered a double, along with a small Greek salad. It was extremely good, and I would return for it again, or take a detour for it, or whatever I need to say to make it clear that this was a dish that deserves significant praise. Nicely grilled, with plenty of char texture and flavor, and with a light lemon and oregano saucing....simply delicious.

How best to describe Athena Pallas...? It's not Kapnos or Nostos, in that it is far from trendy or upscale. These are classic Greek dishes prepared simply. Think Taverna Cretekou in Old Town, but at least half a star better. Athena Pallas also appears to enjoy an elderly demographic, with at least two-thirds of a fairly full lunchtime restaurant falling into that category. That may be the case because it's been around for a while, it's not too expensive, its food is very traditional instead of chic, and the noise level is way down. Call it a comfortable -- or comforting -- place, where you'd want to take your parents or grandparents for a nice meal. Check it out here.

I know a fellow who is 80-ish, a retired executive from the IT industry with a nice bank account, who eats out almost every day. He can eat anywhere he wants to eat, but his typical haunts are Cafe Renaissance in Vienna, Da Domenico in Tysons and Village Bistro in Rosslyn. I bumped into him today, for the first time in about a year, at Athena Pallas. Neither of us were surprised to find each other in this restaurant.

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