Prices range from $2.85 to $4.25. A raw bar is opened Monday through Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.

Kitchen open 11 a.m. to midnight everyday. Sandwiches served at all times; dinners ranging in price from $6.75 to $9.75 served after 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and after 5 p.m. Sunday. Mastercharge, VISA and American Express cards accepted. Patrons in wheelchairs accommodated. Parking available.

The last time we went to Columbia, Md., eight or nine years back it consisted of a few townhouses, a little shopping center, a sales office and no places to eat. Now a visitor needs a road map to sort out the various "villages," and as the nice lady in the information center told us, there are 17 places in and around Columbia to eat.

These range from McDonald's and ice cream parlors to fancier places like the Garland Dinner Theater and King's Contrivance. We were in search of something in between for lunch, and finally chose Clyde's, a spinoff of the restaurant of the same name in Georgetown.

The fact that the official name is Clyde's - An American Bar should not throw a family in search of sustenance. This is a high class bar, done up with Tiffany lamps, polished oak furniture, plants and white and yellow tablecloths. It overlooks a lake, and on a cool fall day is most inviting.

Sandwiches are the heart of Clyde's lunch menu: huge, elegant creations served with lots of garnishes and cottage-fried potatoes. Knosh freaks will be cheered to know that it is quite acceptable to skip the sandwiches and make an entire meal of appetizers - baked brie almondine ($2.95), escargot Bourginonne ($3.50), gazpacho ($1.25) and the like.

Unware of the heft of the sandwiches that would arrive later, a couple of us ordered starters. The peanut soup, $1, was closer in taste to cream of chicken, but was, nevertheless, fresh and creamy and enjoyed by all.

After a summer of cooking the zucchini that everran our vegetable patch a 1,001 ways, everyone booed when I ordered zucchini cappone. But they ate their words and the cappone, too. Finger-sized pieces of the squash were dipped in seasoned batter, and deepfried so the zucchini was still crisp. It was an instant hit and a fine way to get an unpopular vegetable into small fry.

We've discovered in most restaurants that, when in doubt, stick with the simplest dishes. This rule might be reversed at Clyde's.

Our oldest daughter and her grandmother ordered hot roast beef sandwiches, $3.25. The beef was plentiful and lean but overcooked and the gravy was tasteless.

My husband's bluecheeseburger, $2.95, and our 8-year-old's steak sandwich, $4.25, were ordered medium rare but came well done.

But Clyde's does know how to make a mean chicken salad sandwich, $2.75. No stringy, canned stuff was used. My sandwich was loaded with chunks of white meat and the light sprinkling of almond slices throughout was a fine thought.

The cottage fries that accompany every sandwich are excellent - thin slices of unpeeled potatoes deep-fried.

Some other sandwiches include a foot-long hot dog, $2.25, filet Berrnaise, $4.95, a club sandwich, $3.95, and a Reuben, $2.95. Light eaters can get a spinach, mushroom and bacon salad, $2.75, a chef's salad, $3.95, or a seafood salad, $5.95.

Fathers will be glad to learn that if their families insist on a Sunday outing, Clyde's has the Redskins game going full-tilt. TV snacks include a basket of fried clams, oysters or zucchini cappone, $1.50, soft pretzels, 25 cents. or corn dogs, 50 cents. Drinks are $1.65, wine by the glass $1.40.

Clyde's also has a room where just crepes and omelets are served.