Open 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. till 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (Continental breadfast only from 8 to 11 a.m.) Sundays, noon till 7 p.m. Patrons in wheelchairs can be accommodated.
The Eatery at the new White Flint shopping plaza on Rockville Pike is a cleverly disguised fast-food operation that is capitalizing on the current popularity of international cooking.
Housed in a large, crescent-shaped space on the second level of the mall, The Eatery caters to the ravenous shopper looking for a four-course meal and to the one who wants a cup of coffee and a place to rest his fallen arches for a spell.
The outside arc of the space is a colorful midway of 12 booths offering everything from chicken crepes to hot dogs to won ton soup. They are manned by polite and well-scrubbed young people.
At a stand called Churchill's you cou can get a quiche Lorraine for $1.50 and wash it down with a "Smoothy," a 75-cent yogurt and fruit juice concoction, from The Body Shop. Andy's Doghouse has potato kniches for 60 cents and kosher dogs for 95 cents or you might settle for spaghetti with calm sauce for $1.95 at the Italiano.
The Eatery has been decorated with considerable thought and style. It can seat 700 people but the cavernous dining-hall look has been avoided by grouping the tables on the around raised platforms that are inclosed by waist-high wooden railings and plants.
Cane-back chairs surrond pedestal tables and wooden kitchen implements hang on the chocolate brown walls. Lowered ceilings with indirect lighting help you forget you're in a suburban self-service restaurant.
When our family visited the Eatery on a week night it was crowded but the service at the booths was fast and a small army of buspersons rapidly cleared the tables. Friends who have been to te Eatery on Saturday afternoons recently say it has been very crowded and recommend going there at another time.
We staked out a table, gave the two kids some money and fanned out in different directions in pursuit of dinner. The girls returned from the Chinese booth with 65-cent egg rolls and 25-cents soft drinks. They went to Pier 18 next, bought one fried shrimp dinner for $3.50 and split it. This came with French fries and cole slaw.
Meanwhile, my husband was at The Body Shop getting a Smoothy and a "health salad" which turned out to be cabbage in Italian dressing. He next considered a hoagie at The Submarine Works for $1.95 or the soup-salad-bread-dessert combination for $2.95 at the Pot au Feu. He wound up with a corn beef on rye for $1.95 from the House of Dill Repute.
I passed up the barbecued spare ribs dinner at $2.50 from the Chick and Ribs stand in favor of souvlaki from Churchill's. This was marinated chunks of beef and Greek salad served on pita bread.
The booth we all had our eye on - and that was doing the briskest business - was Just Desserts. It offered an array of desserts including Black Forest cake, Charlotte russe, several flavors of excellent ice cream, napoleons, cream puffs and eclairs. The faimly wisely stuck with ice cream at 55 cents a dish but I chose a double-decker pudding and whipped cream affair that was mediore.
My husband and I finished up with 30-cent cups of coffee, and our entire bill came to $12.87.
Generally, we found the quality of the food at The Eatery to be inconsistnent. But we did enjoy the wide selection of food, the handsome surrondings and the reasonable prices.