How federal government cafeterias stack up

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Supreme Court Cafeteria

Grade: F

This food should be unconstitutional, we agreed, as my two companions and I sat in the court's sparsely populated dining area, examining the wan offerings we'd just received.

The chef's special, herb-crusted roast beef with rice pilaf and roasted zucchini ($8.25), came sans herb crust and pilaf. The result was a sad-looking dish with an overly salty sauce and merely edible squash. The veggie burger ($5.75), which consisted of what we thought was spinach and a few pieces of chopped carrot and bell pepper, managed to be too dry on the outside and falling-apart mushy on the inside. Our request for mustard only made it worse; a tablespoon covered each half of the spongy bun and overwhelmed whatever flavor might have been there.

The prepared salad of mixed greens with apple and walnuts ($5.95) -- not the promised pecans -- was okay, although the chunks of feta were too big for one bite, and the surplus of vinaigrette sent me into a short bout of coughing. Last, and most certainly least, was the salmon rice bowl with bourbon sauce ($6.25). "This basically bears no resemblance to any salmon I've tasted before," was one taster's verdict. The sauce "ruins everything it touches," my husband added. "And the salmon didn't need to be ruined. It was already ruined."

The biggest hit? The reduced-fat bag of potato chips served with the veggie burger.

Can you eat healthfully here? Not so much. But you can cut your calorie intake, because chances are, you won't end up eating much of anything at all.

-- Becky Krystal

First Street NE between East Capitol Street and Maryland Avenue. Hours: weekdays, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open to the public.

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