All the food fashions find their way to these two pretty dining rooms, and are turned into dinners that can be awfully good. Sometimes the kitchen slips with faulty experiments -- a pasta with too-thick and oddly bitter cream sauce not saved by slivers of smoked trout, for instance. But when West End Cafe hits, you win big. The thick veal chop drenched in herb butter is an extraordinary piece of meat cooked perfectly and seasoned to its greatest enhancement. Teamed with good seasonal vegetables and lacy potato pancakes, it is a grand dinner in a setting elegant without being formal, and service to match. The menu also lists light fare, the likes of a rather good curried chicken salad ringed by condiments, and a tray of several cured salmons which makes a truly refreshing light supper.
The wine list is good and not outlandishly priced. Desserts are intriguing, though a ginger mousse was short on ginger the last time around. The rooms offer two different moods, one with musical accompaniment. And if you are inclined to adventure in your menu, West End Cafe is always interesting and worth a few slips here and there. 1 Washington Circle NW. 293- 5390. L $6.35-$14.95, D $6.35- $17.95. L, D daily. AE, CB, DC, MC, V. Res sugg. Full bar.