THE BREAD LINE -- 1751 PENNSYLVANIA AVE. NW. 202-822-8900. Open: Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday. AE, MC, V. No reservations. No smoking. Prices: appetizers $2 to $3, entrees $3.25 to $6.25. Full lunch with beverage, tax and tip $9 to $15 per person. Seven years ago, when Marvelous Market introduced its traditional European breads to Washington, they made such an impact that people waited in line for a loaf. Now the founder and former owner of Marvelous Market, Mark Furstenberg, has moved on to open the Bread Line. And he's turned his attention to filling, stuffing and layering his handmade breads. A disclosure is in order here: Mark Furstenberg is a friend -- it's one of the very few personal relationships I have in the restaurant business. So, although I've taken pains to review his restaurant as objectively as I would any other, some of you may choose to read what follows with a grain of salt. From breakfast through late afternoon, the Bread Line serves a changing array of freshly baked hand-held foods, to eat in or take out. Sandwiches are part of the concept, but the Bread Line also delves into such bread-based traditions as pizzas, calzones, empanadas, roast pork buns and piadini -- blistery grilled flat breads rolled around grilled radicchio and cheese, Caesar salad or falafel. It makes by hand things we thought only came from factories: English muffins, graham crackers. And for sandwiches, it matches breads with their fillings as conscientiously as tablecloth restaurants match food and wines. At first glance, the Bread Line looks like fast food. You pick up a ready-made sandwich and beverage or have them prepared to order and wait for your number to be called. You can carry your meal off to your office, out to an umbrella-shaded table or back to one of the wooden booths, where the fashionably distressed concrete floor, industrial-style decorations and glass partitions make you feel almost part of the kitchen activity. Fast food? Why would White House staffers, TV correspondents and World Bankers be standing in line for fast food? Because this food is only fast in the serving, not in the making. Back in the kitchen, it's slow food. Those are whole turkeys, rubbed with plenty of fresh herbs, garlic and pepper, just emerging from the oven; and the mayonnaise for the sandwiches is made on the premises. The soups, which change daily, are not only made from scratch but use produce of the quality we buy at farmers' markets and roadside stands. Even the vegetarian soups -- and most of them are vegetarian -- have a hearty, full flavor, from the ribollita to the carrot-ginger to the potato-and-leek. The hot tomato soup tastes as if it had been simmered by the sun at the side of the garden. A "great" sandwich used to mean either impressive fillings on indifferent bread or, occasionally, significant bread with insignificant fillings. Now the Bread Line is serving the best of both. I'm generally a tuna-salad purist, wanting nothing but mayo and maybe a little celery or onion with my canned fish. But the Bread Line has converted me with its Moroccan extravagance of tuna with cumin, preserved lemon, olives, red onion and celery, with mesclun leaves on top. It has also sold me on egg salad with sun-dried tomatoes in the mayonnaise and arugula under the bread. A somewhat austere grilled vegetable sandwich is livened with tapenade; an elegant smoked salmon has plenty of dill and watercress. And I could make a daily Thanksgiving of the turkey. Another sandwich that particularly delights me is the Bread Line's luxury version of ham and cheese: superb prosciutto di Parma on walnut bread with a smear of mascarpone and gorgonzola, the peppery crunch of watercress and a sweet-sharp surprise of fig jam. Grilled cheese is also elaborated, the bread being thickly sliced brioche, the cheese combining fontina, mozzarella and Parmesan, and an unexpected crunch stemming from thin slices of green apple and fennel and sometimes walnuts. After this it would be hard to return to plain old American. I do think the Bread Line could use some improvements. I prefer pizza dough lighter and puffier than this firm, hard crust; and the sausage and fennel filling in the calzone is too mild and pasty -- it's the one thing that to my taste borders on mass-market texture. Furthermore, a Monday trip specially for the tomatillo soup disappointed me: It was too rich, too creamy and as fiery as an Indian vindaloo. The grilled chicken breast sandwich was designed for fat-phobes, and it tastes it; its marinated white meat is dry and slightly bitter from being grilled unprotected by any fat. As for the piadini, while of the two salad versions I prefer the Caesar, with its authentic hint of anchovy and fresh-grated Parmesan, it is impossible to eat inside its folded-over bread. Besides, a sandwich with croutons is plain silly. On the other hand, the piadini with falafel is sensational, not only because the chickpea fritters are light and spicy, but because sprinkled in with the tahini are crunchy whole fried chickpeas. Inspired. The Bread Line has changed my habits. How can I skip breakfast when a slight detour on the way to work will supply me with the best bagels I know? They're lighter than most yet with more character, darkly browned, chewy and faintly malty. The smoked salmon cream cheese is chock-full of high-quality fish and dill. I adore the dense and wheaty English muffins, though some might find them too far a cry from the usual pale store-bought ones. Surely the scones -- with raisins, dried cherries and bits of candied ginger -- and the French toast are universally appreciated. The Danish is also a revelation: light, buttery and as flaky as the croissants and pain au chocolat. But I'd prefer the Danish filling inside rather than spread on top, because it is too messy and sticks to the wrapper. What's left? Freshly squeezed juices, espresso drinks and smoothies made with real fresh fruit. Ripe fruit is also available whole or cut up in an elegant nothing-but-fruit salad. Then there are gingerbread muffins and sandwiched cookies of peanut butter or chocolate, but I save my appetite for the fragile fruit tarts. And finally, there are breads by the loaf and rolls to take home. The Bread Line's baguettes are lighter than Furstenberg's earlier ones, with a thin yet crisp crust and plenty of holes to show they were raised right. Even so, his olive bread is my addiction. Rather, it is the addiction that will remain after the season passes for his vine-ripened tomato pizza, tomato gazpacho, hot tomato soup and the BLT of my dreams. Furstenberg promises cooked breakfasts in the fall, and such classic sandwiches as Reubens and steamship round. Maybe they'll help me to forget the tomatoes.. To search more than 250 Phyllis C. Richman reviews by cuisine, price or neighborhood, visit The Post's World Wide Web site at www.washingtonpost.com. Turning Tables Now you can pull out your designer wallet from your designer purse or the pocket of your designer jeans and sample the newest designer coffee. Donna Karan International has launched DKNY Blend coffee at Timothy's World Coffee outlets. At $11.99 a pound, it's among Timothy's most expensive. And it's a "New York" roast, mild in flavor but -- it figures -- high in caffeine.