4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW. 244-1164.
Hours: Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m "or maybe 11"; Sundays from 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. "or perhaps 10."
Atmosphere: Part food, part deli and part pastry shop - but all French when it comes to cooking.
Price Range: From a salad at $1.50 to thoughtfully prepared entrees at $5.
Credit Cards: No.
Special Facilities: Accessible by wheelchair.Seating for wee ones can be arranged. Parking in the adjacent lot.
Far be it from us to knock family democracy, but allowing every member an opinion on where or what to eat can be taxing with too much representation.
After all, how can you expect four moods and a matching number of appetites to add up to any quick consensus?
That's what we'd been putting off a visit to Les Delices (if you're reading aloud, that's "Lay Day-Lease"). You see, we'd previously peeked in from the back parking lot where this place is and had tagged the spot as a possible fresh remedy for any stalemate over dining desires.
Despite is cutesy-little-pastry-shop looks. Au contraire, friends; as we're about to note in certain detail - and as you find out if you just look up at the blackboard menu hanging above the tap handles on the wine barrels against the side wall - they serve real meals here.
A lot of people must know that already, for the place was jumping wih clients well before 7 p.m. on this Saturday. So after ambling by the pastry counter (and we'll be ambling back come dessert time), we nailed one of the 20 or so little round, marble-top-tables to take stock of our surroundings.
The decor is, how shall we say, tres potpurri - creating a sort-of-California-style French cafe/patisserie, with huge picture windows and awfully tall greenery all around. In the daylight hours, it's all a bit bright and when, as we did, you wind up sitting next to a four-foot-high plant of some sort and directly in front of a full-sized mirror where all you can see is yourself shoveling in the food, it can be off-putting.
Reassuring, though, was the amount of genuine French being spoken around the room - not just by the waitresses in the snappy red "Les Delices" T-shirts and blue skirts, but by many a diner.
French, too, is the beer: We ordered a Pelforth and a Kronenbourg along with two sodas and then began casing the big menu-board for selections. There soon arrived bread and it, too, was demonstrably French.
Next, three servings of onion soup, at $1.30 each, proved as magnificently French as they could be, with solid coats of cheese and floating slices of that fine bread, all topping a light liquid with - hooray - minced rather than sliced onions.
So light was this soup, in fact, that after a taste, our 9-year-old daugther - the one person who hadn't ordered any - lifted my order entirely.
After that shify maneuver, she move efficiently to a hefty assiette de pate , which is a plate with much pate, bread, lettuce and tomato, $2.50. Her preliminary report, confirmed promptly thereafter by several knife-wielding thieves who shall remain nameless, was strictly upbeat.
Meanwhile, my wife and our 11-year-old son were congratulating themselves on a deal they'd struck - an agreement, to share two different offerings - for the result was coming out compliments about complements.
Half of this ad hoc combo was an airy, four-by-four inch quiche, for $2; the other was a jambon-fromage feuillette , which is ham and cheese in a flaky pastry shell and a smooth, white bechannel sauce (that, says a book I checked, is cream, chicken stock and some other magic goodies), at $2.25.
The special dinners of the evening were poulet chasseur (that's one of those sauced chickens) or beef bourgignon , each at $5. I chose the beef - which, when pushed around in the sauce and rice, had a respectable snap to it.
For these cherubs who may still balk at the thought of French cooking (bless their little naive hearts, they'll come to their senses some day), there are sandwiches: ham or Swiss cheese, $1.75, or roast beef, $2.50.
For the salad citizen, there are four varieties listed, starting with straight green, $1.50, and going up to nicoise, $3.25.
But enough about all these things - we must get back to that counter up front, where in addition to everything from carryout truffles to herring and a six-pound wheel of brie cheese, there are those sensational pastries that are all made on the premises.
To order an on-site pastry dessert, the drill is to match up there, point out your pick for $1.25 or $1.50, and the waitress will bring it to your table. The next thing you do, a pre-emptive strike, is let the children know right away that no requests for seconds will be entertained - for the pastries are that good.
At the counter, our own two your sets of sweet and someday surely a braceable teeth dropped in awe as the agony of decision momentarily had off the ecstasy of sinking them into a selection.
Finally, [WORD ILLEGIBLE] mocha-detectors went off and tapped two brova-and-flaky items to do in while thin parents tried hard to concentrate on coffee.
The other thing the waitress will bring back to your table from and front, of course, is the bill. Ours cause to $25.60 plus tip, which at the rates things are going these days, matches the kids' pastries for sweetness and lightness.