S%Open Monday through Saturday. 10 to 11:30 a.m. for coffee and muffins. 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for lunch. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for dinner. No reservations required. Only Bloomingdale's credit card accepted. Not accessible by wheelchair.

In the past, my husband has scored restaurants in department stores, equating them with "ladies' tea shoppes" where the most robust item on the menu, he assumed, could be devoured in one bite, and where he would sit for an hour waiting for that bite to be seived.

Then last week, hunger struck while we were shopping at Tysons Corner, and I steered him to Bloomingdale's, up the escalator to the third floor, through the furniture department, and finally to Les Quarante Carrotts, one of Bloomie's two restaurants.

He walked in a skeptic and walked out a believer. He lunched lavishly on the mushroom quiche and pronounced it "terrific,"

The room is decorated with huge baskets filled with brilliant, oversized cotton carrots and hanging baskets of live plants. Polished copper kettles are also used here and there holding bouquets of fresh, sunny-colored flowers-zinnias, daisies and marigolds.

The resataurant's large square counter seats 28 diners, all on comfortable stools with back rests. The center of the square is loaded with all the makings for the array of salads offered on the menu. There are bowls of tuna fish salad, sliced beets a tantalizing fruit salad, cherry tomatoes, avocado, tabbouleh and a variety of crisp salad greens. Also marvelous-looking desserts-cheese cake, pecan pie, fruits, etc.

My husband decided on the special of the day, the mushroom quiche at $3 while I debated between a salad and a sandwich. The chopped avocado sandwich served on Eastern bread for $2.95 sorely tempted me as did the curried egg salad sandwich on whole meal bread, also for $2.95.

Then there were salads. The cottage cheese and yogurt, $3.55, topped with fresh fruits and served with shredded coconut, walnuts, dates, and apricot preserve dressing, sounded good. I settled on the tuna fish salad, $3.65, and was glad I did.

My hysband's order included a small salad and apple cider, which was brought first. He said the crispy tossed salad had one of the most delicious dressings he had ever tasted.

His quiche came in a large wedge, crispy with cheese, loaded with mushrooms, piping hot, and garnished with cherry tomatoes and a generous bunch of seedles grapes, all served in a pottery skillet.

My salad was excellent - a huge mound of tuna chunks on lettuce, garnished with nuts and cherry tomatoes, and tossed with sesame oil and vinegar dressing. It was served with a delectable whole grain muffin and sweet butter.

We each ordered a glass of iced tea 40 cents. Our entire lunch came to $7.75 not including tip, and we used up less than hour of our precious shopping time.

Les Quarante Carrots (The Forty Carrots) Restaurant, third floor, Bloomingdale's Tysons COrner Shopping Center, McLean. Open Monday through Saturday, 10 to 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for lunch: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for dinner. No reservations required. Only Bloomingdale's credit card accpeted. Not accessible by wheelchair. Phone 893-3500.