When Bloomingdale's opened its first Washington store, expectations were high. New York food, it was hoped, was going to be available in Washington. Instead, all the food has been prepared locally, and little of it has been better than ordinary.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, at the Tysons Corner branch, the tops of the seven available salads looked dried out; only two of them were covered with plastic wrap. Several of the cheeses were moldy.
The man behind the counter said not to take the shrimp salad: "It's not good. It comes in on Monday and I have no time to throw it out." He recommended against the celery remoulade as well. As well. "No good."
The chicken salad, at $4.80 a pound, was comparable to supermarket deli counter chicken salad.
Le Popeye, an hors d'oeuvre spread of spinach and onion, and Better Cheddar, both made locally, and both $6 a pound, are the two items of interest at Bloomingsdale's. There was no vegetable pate. That, too, comes in on Mondays.
The bakery section of the food hall was doing a brisker business. The store makes it own croissants, from dough supplied by Vie de France, and its own chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, peanut butter and oatmeal-raisin cookies at $6 a pound. At that price they ought to be a good deal better than they are. According to a sales clerk, sometimes they bake their own fruit pies.
She recommended a kiwi fruit cheesecake at $4.75 a pound: it was ordinary. Apple logs -- pastry filled with apples at 95 cents each (75 cents when on special) -- were equal to those at any standard bakery.
The muffin, which come in several flavors -- strawberry, cherry, blueberry, bran and apple -- are 85 cents each and acceptable; the bagels, at 25 cents each, are not. They are more like rolls than bagels. Open 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Mon. through Fri.; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat. Inexpensive to moderate.