The newly opened Trattoria Athena, located near Fort Andross on Mill Street, is not the type of place that you would find unless you were looking for it.

From the outside, its only distinguishing features are its large pane glass windows looking out onto the street. And it is surrounded by the largely residential area off of Mill Street, somewhat removed from Maine Street's repertoire of restaurants.

Once inside, however, the Greek-Italian restaurant is as welcoming as any. The friend with whom I went remarked that the interior looked just like his Greek neighbors' kitchen at home, and the small size of the square dining area, combined with the open view into the kitchen, furthered the homey atmosphere.

The dining room is simple: It holds roughly eight tables of varying size, all of which were filled during my visit. A bar in the back of the restaurant seats four, and showcases the restaurant's collection of Greek and Italian wines.

The dark green walls are decorated with photographs and two large cast-iron maps of Italy and Greece.

Two large chalkboards display the day's list of specials and information about the sources of different ingredients on the menu, many of which are from local farms. The restaurant's goat, for example, comes from Dragonfly Cove Farm in Dresden, and its mushrooms come from Oyster Creek in Damariscotta.

Trattoria Athena was initially conceived by two Maine chefs, Marc Provencher and Timothy O'Brien, whose culinary exploits brought them together, then sent them on different paths, only to be reunited in Brunswick.

They met while working at the same restaurant many years ago. O'Brien then left and started his own homemade pasta business in Bath, where it was a huge success.

O'Brien had been selling his creations at Bath Farmers' Market, but his desire for a venue in which to serve his popular pasta coincided with Provencher's wish for a change in location, leading the two to open Trattoria Athena this past July.

When asked why Brunswick was their choice, their response was simple. "Brunswick has a good dining scene."

"It has turned into somewhat of a destination, and we feel that we have something to add," said O'Brien.

Curious, I decided to see for myself. I ordered a significant portion of the Trattoria's not-so-insignificantly-sized menu.

Luckily, the menu is reasonably priced: most appetizers and salads are under $10, and entrees range from $15 to $20.

The meal began with a special chef's dish. I did not order it, nor on the menu, but it was a pleasant surprise. The dish consisted of four cherry tomatoes, each stuffed with a different kind of Greek or Italian cheese, and garnished with various spices and balsamic glaze. I don't know if this offering is standard at Trattoria, but it was certainly a delicious introduction to the meal.

This dish was followed by our appetizers: Bruschetta Pomodoro and Arancini, or fried risotto. I highly recommend both. The bruschetta was the best I have ever tasted in the U.S., and the Arancini, served with Greek yogurt, might have been the highlight of the meal.

The next course was an outstanding salad, which, sadly, was a special. Dubbed the "Apple Crisp," the salad featured pancetta and fresh apple slices, giving it a nice variety of texture and flavor.

Trattoria serves its bread with two different olive oils, one Italian and one Greek. The Italian variety was from just outside of Florence, and tasted like a more flavorful version of your everyday olive oil. The Greek had a slightly green color and, despite tasting different from any olive oil I've ever had, was delicious.

The entrees were Arni Lemonato Braised Lamb Shanks, served with lemon potatoes, white wine, lemon juice and lemon thyme, and Katsikaki Braised Goat, served with arugula, rice and greek yogurt.

These dishes seemed to combine the familiar with the unknown, taking well-known flavors and subtly revising them. This was my first experience with goat, and if you're not completely turned off by the thought of it, I highly recommend it—it happens to be Provencher's personal favorite.

The two chefs were kind enough to let me speak with them in the kitchen after the meal, a testament to Trattoria's welcoming atmosphere. O'Brien cited the Papardelle with Sugo di Cinghiale, a pasta with boar ragu, as his favorite dish on the menu.

The chefs indicated that their plans for the future are malleable, but that they intend on keeping their current location, without expansion, for years to come.

"The bigger you get, the more hands on the food," said Provencher. "That leads to less quality control."

The Trattoria Athena is a resounding success and a unique addition to Brunswick's dining scene.

One word of caution: The Trattoria is not a place for involved conversation; it's all about the food, and when presented with any of their distinctive dishes, it becomes impossible to think about anything else.

Though it's a bit off the beaten path, it is well worth the trip.

Rating: *** (three stars out of five)

Trattoria Athena

25 Mill Street, Brunswick