Open every day from 11 a.m. to midnight. Street parking if you cruise for a bit. Accessible by wheelchair. No credit cards, but personal checks accepted with proper identification. Reservations not necessary.
Follow us now, if you will, as we part the beads in the doorway of this small Italian restaurant only a stroll from the White House. And fret not that the ambience of the Trieste Restaurant will be shattered by the entrance of children, for, like the doorway beads, the young,too, will part - lickety-split to a boob-tube in the back where the Snoopy special is on.
That, in fact, should serve to explain why the culinary reports from our 8-year-old daughter and her equally-on-in-years companion were somewhat skimpier than the offerings that were to be set before them.
Mind you, this is not standard practice at the Trieste, just a thoughtful invitation on this particular occasion: The girls were on a reconnaissance tour after their colas and some bites of excellent hot buttered garlic bread that goes for 85 cents - and they were spotted malingering by the unobtrusive TV set. That produced an offer of places at a free table with a good view and, as you may have guessed, happiness is a warm TV with Snoopy on.
So that's where the junior corps wound up chomping down slices of $4.50 large peperoni pizza!
Moreover, words could not describe this pizza, for all we could get were a few long-distance grins and a couple of waves.
That's a far cry from the normal nonstop bubbling banter that's the stock-in-trade of this effervescent pair - but my wife and I tried to bear up as we explored the menu. That exploration is no mean feat, either. If you aren't fluent in Italian,you have to ask.
And you have to try, relaly. For example, we could recognize minestrone - and it deserved recognition, according to my wife - but I had to taste tortellini in brodo to discover an Italian answer to egg drop soup.
What I still don't know is whether this soup was bland or whether that eyebrow-soaking hot garlic bread beforehand just made everything seem weak.
Next, my wife turned to chicken livers with butter and mushrooms at $5.85, which was a good turn, thought it's not exactly a soley Italian dish. For me it was veal Parmigiana with spaghetti - satisfactory, but nothing to write Rome about.
More interesting, in a way, is what you find on the walls of the Trieste, which includes autographed photographs of everybody from presidents to people who must have been sent over by Central Casting.
There's also a gaudy gold lantern with decorative parrots hanging on and around it: some of thone Phony fruits done up in a Carmen Miranda arrangement, several No Parking signs from selected inaugurals; and almost anything else that collectors of anything might hang. Don't look now, but there's even a map of Italy on the ceiling.
On the table, by now, are two orders of cannolli for the girls' desserts and coffee for the adults. Our bill for the works was $36.80 plus tip.
With a full selection of everything from pastas at $3.95 to steaks at $7.50, the Trieste offers relatively modest prices and cuisine to match - which can be a fitting order of the day for the hungry family in search of a friendly, informal evening downtown.