THEY SING! AND SLING!: Ask any restaurateur: Good help is hard to find. Unless, of course, you're in the market for waiters who can double as entertainers. "For every job opening for a server, we get a dozen or so applicants," says Andy Shallal, whose Mimi's American Bistro (2120 P St. NW; 202-464-6464) features live performances and counts 14 singers on the payroll. How do they compare with waiters who can't carry a tune? "People in the theater tend to think fast," says Shallal, "and they engage better with guests." On the down side, "it's like herding cats. They lack focus. They all want to be stars!" (Some of those "cats" get pretty close. One of Mimi's waiters recently made the final cut for "American Idol" and is flying to Hollywood in November; another got picked up by Disney to perform in "The Lion King" in Europe.) Experience has taught the restaurateur that guests go wild for opera singers -- and shy away from "less recognizable tunes" that require too much concentration from people who are also eating. More than a few of his entertainers have told Shallal that his venue is their toughest gig, because, unlike a regular nightclub or concert stage, "no one here has to pay attention to them." P.S.: Auditions for singer-servers are held the last Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the restaurant.
TRADITIONS TO GO: As it has for the past seven years, Felix (2406 18th St. NW; 202-483-3549) will be offering an a la carte Rosh Hashanah menu, along with its regular modern American fare, to celebrate the Jewish holiday, which begins tonight at sundown. Special appetizer choices highlight fresh gefilte fish, potato latkes, matzoh ball soup and house-made chopped liver; entrees run to roast chicken with apricot stuffing, beef brisket with fingerling potatoes and grilled salmon with couscous. Available this evening through Friday, the New Year meal won't be limited to the dining room in Adams Morgan. For those who wish to celebrate the occasion elsewhere, takeout orders are being accepted, says co-owner Alan Popovsky. The restaurateur says he looks forward to the event even though he has to work and won't be with his family in New Jersey. "I get to live my Jewish heritage," he says, "and share it with other people."
Appetizers are $8 each; entrees cost $15-$18.