Open daily, Monday through Friday, 11:30 to 2 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Visa, American Express, and Master Charge accepted. Reservations taken. Children are welcome, but no special provisions are offered, 751-8900.

It was one of those evenings when the current went out, my electric range was inoperable, and we made the sudden decision, "Let's just grab a quick bite out."

We had heard of Nicky's supposedly "a little Greek restaurant" in the center of a warehouse district in the Pickett Street Plaza in Alexandria. Even today, the old adage is true that "You can't judge a book by its cover." Here it is, surrounded by used furniture outlets, auctioneers and body works shops. We opened the door from the little porch to a really large and gala-looking restaurant.

Soft background music greeted us, as well as an atmosphere of quiet ease, spaciousness and muted color. To the left is a huge, oval-shaped bar. A smooth, glass-enclosed gallery over-looks the lower level, and borders of ceiling lights, reflecting off the mirrored accent pieces, give a festive effect. All much too glamorous for "just a quick bite out."

And in the center of it all is a raised bandstand and a small dance floor. The live music, however, does not arrive until 9 p.m., thus affording the option of an early dinner or a more sophisticated evening.

It took a little mind-bending to accustom ourselves to the unexpected elegance. We settled ourselves in one of the posh booths, however, and looked over the menu.

My husband chose the crab imperial at $8.95. My son decided on baked shrimp with crabmeat stuffing, also $8.95, and I, with my mouth all set for Greek food, ordered the beef brochette for $6.95.

The menu seemed varied enough, ranging in price from chopped sirloin steak with mushroom sauce for $4.95 through filet of flounder, $6.95, and on to the most expensive - surf and turf or broiled lobster tail, each at $10.95.

Nicky's also offers a variety of appetizers. Examples: fruit cup, $1.50; stuffed mushrooms, $2.95; escargots with garlic butter, $3.25.

Where they really shine is at the salad bar which is included in the price of the entree and is among the best salads I have ever eaten. They've left nothing out - bacon bits, grated parmesan, onion, croutons. And the dressings are super. I tried a combination of Italian and the house dressing and have never eaten a more delicious salad.

Rice pilaf or oven-browned potatoes go with the entree, and we chose the rice, which was delicious, hot and well-seasoned. The whole dinner, which included hot bread and butter, brought raves from the three of us.

Coffee was 50 cents and the bill for three of us came to $27.15 including tax, but not tip.

Next time we may go for lunch when they serve a three-egg omelette for $3.25 or a Greek Moussaka for $3.50 with the salad bar included in the price. Lunch also offers, among other entrees, both hot and cold sandwiches such as jumbo hamburger, $2.75, shrimp salad on soft roll, $3.25, and ham, roast beef, or turkey, $2.95. There is also a tempting array of weight watcher platters from $2.95 to $3.75.