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Cafe Deluxe
By Phyllis C. Richman
Washington Post Restaurant Critic
From The Washington Post Dining Guide, November 1996

| 3228 Wisconsin Ave. NW
(202) 686-2233

Hours of Operation and Prices
Lunch: M-Sat 11:45-4, Sun 3-4; Entrees: $8-$13.50
Dinner: M-Th 4-10:30, F-Sat 4 to 11, Sun 4 to 10; Entrees: $8-$15
Brunch: Sun 11-3, $6-$9

Other Information
• American Express, MasterCard, Visa
• Reservations accepted for 8 or more
• Dress: casual
• Valet parking (fee) at dinner Th-Sat
• Handicapped accessible

Cafe Deluxe looks like a French brasserie. Even better, it looks like one that's been around a while. The tile floor, chunky glassware and thick white dinner plates delivered to your table without fanfare identify this as a casual, drop-in-for-a-snack kind of restaurant. When it's crowded it has a buzz, a burbling of conversation, but even at its noisiest you can converse without strain. Maybe that's why it seems so comfortingly broken-in.

Think of this as an American diner: Would you order sea bass with lemon pepper crust in a diner? Or grilled tuna burger with pickled ginger mayo? No, you'd probably go for the bacon cheeseburger. And you'd be guessing right.

I'd also suggest another item that's in diner mode: grilled meatloaf. And the sugar snap peas are a distinct improvement on anything green you are likely to find at a diner. The menu nods to vegetarians with a grilled vegetable antipasto, a vegetable pizza and fettuccine. There's an agreeable spinach and cheese dip with terrific, crackly, thin tortilla chips for people who want to hang out without being involved in a serious meal. While the soup might not be exciting, it is house-made and meal-sized. Desserts are rich and homey, such gooey sweets as chocolate-chip cookie pie or fruit cobbler.

A micro-brewed draft beer or thick white mug of perfectly decent American coffee, sipped slowly in a calm dark booth, or a martini and a burger at the bar - those alone are good reasons to visit Cafe Deluxe.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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