Hours: Monday 11:15 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 11:15 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11:15 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4:30 to 9 p.m.
Atmosphere: Formal setting, but casual attire welcome; steak and seafood.
Price Range: Seafood, $8.40 for crabcakes to $13.95 for lobster tail; beef, $6.95 for chopped steak to $11.50 for roast prime ribs; children's dinners $3.50 to $6.95.
Credit cards: Visa and Master Charge.
Special Facilities: Catering; high chairs and booster seats; parking lot; accessible for wheelchairs.
Michael's in Capitol Heights near Capital Centre, is a steak and seafood restaurant now approaching its second birthday.
For children, dining at Michael's is "eating at a fancy restaurant." Candlelight, tablecloths, roomy wooden captain's chairs, carpet, wallpaper and Muzak, all in the colonial-modern fasion of a hotel conference suite, put little ones on their best behavior right away. They are immediately intrigued by the huge semi-circular salad bar and overjoyed to learn that they can help themselves as part of their meal.
There are four items for children under 12 on the menu: a thin, tender strip steak, prime ribs, chopped steak and fried flounder, all served with salad and french fries, and ranging in price from $3.50 to $6.95. For a 10-year-old who orders the $3.50 chopped sirloin and can down a small rabbit patch of salad, the dinner is a bargain.
In fact, two children with us, finding no main course selection that appealed to them, simply ordered shrimp cocktails (four jumbo defrosted shrimp with a not-too-spicy sauce) and ate for $3.75 each.
For adults, however Michael's is no bargain. The food is ordinary and the prices are high. The least expensive item is broiled chopped sirloin in brown gravy sparsely dotted with shriveled mushrooms for $6.35. The prices then jump to the $8 to $11.50 range, topped by a lobster tail at $13.95.
Many of the seafood dishes can be sampled in a combination platter ($10.95), which, at a recent dinner, included a juicy crab cake, two fried shrimp, fried scallops and a filet of fish. The crab cake was barely seasoned and shot through with bothersome bits of cartilege. The shrimp, once frozen, were tough and grainy. The bread coating did nothing to perk up the blank scallop meat and the fish never quite finished cooking inside.
Non-fried seafoods include baked flounder stuffed with crabmeat, baked crab imperial and lobster tail.
On the beef side, a sirloin steak was unseasoned but tender, while London broil, drowning in the same gravy as the chopped steak, was sliced paper thin and tasted like yesterday's.
The salad bar -- attractive with mounds of fresh sliced carrots, green peppers, red onions and cucumbers served separately from the lettuce -- is included with all entrees. Rye and pumpernickle bread and thick, tired french fried potatoes also are included. Bake potato, broccoli and sauteed mushrooms are offered a la carte.
The only desserts were strawberry or cherry cheesecake, carrot cake or Irish coffee. The cheesecake was rich and creamy, but marred by a soggy graham cracker crumb spine and fruit that had seen better days. The carrot cake, at our tasting, was stale.
Service is pleasant and fast enough to suit children occupied with salads and bread, and owner Michael Tsourounis is a personable host.