Atmosphere: Informal and unhurried; appeals to all ages.
Prices: Most dinners in $4 and $5 range; salads and sandwiches available. Children's menu, $1.75 for filet of fish, chopped steak or spaghetti.
Reservations: Usually necessary on weekends.
Credit cards: VISA, Master Charge, American Express, NAC.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 11 p.m.; Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
Special facilities: Customers in wheelchairs most easily accommodated in sidewalk cafe since there are several steps leading to indoor dining room.Parking lot and on-street parking; booster chairs.
Actually, the tables at The Round Table are square, the food is Greek and American rather than Anglo-Saxon, and not many knights show up there. But this Friendship Heights restaurant is a most congenial spot, especially on a midsummer's eve when you and yours can sup outside.
The Round Table also deserves a congeniality award for giving only the slightest tug on the purse strings. Since it opened eight years ago, it has built up a sizeable following for offering presentable and ample fare at magically low prices.
Food we've sampled there at various lunches and on a recent Sunday evening has ranged from merely okay to unexpectedly delicious. All in all, The Round Table does yeoman service when you consider it is one of the few places in town to provide broiled salmon for $4.25, a rack of spareribs for $6.50 and a very fine moussaka for $3.10 - all served with salad or two vegetables, and bread.
We had our choice of tables on our Sunday visit with our 9-year-old, and selected one under a big umbrella close to the street for better people-watching. Our timing was just right because 15 minutes later, the movie let out at the theater next door and the place was packed.
While our waitress hustled to take care of the newcomers, we unloaded the bread basket and worked through our salads.
Our experience has been that veal parmigiana is nearly always disappointing at most restaurants, but my husband optimistically ordered it any way. He was stunned to find real slices of veal instead of spongy slabs that looked like someone wearing football cleats had jumped on them. The sauce was light, pleasantly flavored and included pieces of fresh tomato. This was accompanied by a side dish of spaghetti. The price - $4.50.
After our daughter had gingerly dissected her beef brochette (shish kabob) $4.10, gladly giving us the green peppers, tomatoes and most of the onion, she made short work of the remaining chunks of beef, unconcerned that they were somewhat overcooked. The rice pilaf vanished, and she even finished a side order of broccoli, which, again, was cooked too long.
I had eaten, and liked, The Round Table's pastisio (made with ground beef, macaroni, a creamy white sauce and flavored with nutmeg) on other visits, and decided to see if they did as well with moussaka. It was even better. Layers of ground meat and egg plant, rather than the potatoes some cooks use, were deftly seasoned and covered with a smooth, shimmering cream sauce.
Our daughter, who was being suspiciously well-behaved, probably because of the absence of her big sister, decided she had earned dessert. From a choice of apple pie, jello, rice pudding or sundaes, she chose the latter, 65 cents, with chocolate sauce. (We might mention here that if you eat outside, appetizers and desserts are only offered ala carte. Inside, you can have them as part of a complete dinner.)
If you are not inclined toward having a big meal, sandwiches, which range from $1.95 to $3.05 for a steak sandwich, are available, and so are salad plates. An especially inviting one is the Greek salad, liberally covered with anchovies, olives and Feta cheese, for $3.20.
Our sojourn to The Round Table cost a palatable $19.94. That included a half liter of wine, coffee, tip and a fair measure of satisfaction.