Atmosphere: Glorified carryout; cutoffs and ice cream-stained children are welcome.
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Price Range: 60 cents to $3.95.
Reservations: Certainly not.
Credit Cards: None. Checks for exact amount accepted.
Special Facilities: Parking only on city streets; front door accessible to handicapped; boosters available but no highchairs.
In the summertime, particularly when the temperature is topping 100 degrees, the livin' ought to be easy. The thought of planning far enough ahead to make a reservation, of having to dress up to go out or of eating a full-course meal is enough to make anybody work up a sweat. However, your family can avoid those problems and keep its cool by dining out at Ikaros.
After an afternoon concert on the canal or a few hours spent poking among street vendors' wares on Wisconsin Avenue, you can run all your relatives through Ikaros without running through your money. In pricey Georgetown, the Greek owners of Ikaros maintain a bargain hunter's delight, with single pieces of pizza priced at 60 cents, and good gyros and souvlaki just a little more than $2.
Unfortuately, the place looks like a bargain hunter's delight: Ikaros is one of those little spots where you can sit down in rather plain circumstances if you prefer to eat your carryout food on the premises. There are orange plastic booths, Greek travel posters and a Rockola jukebox. The menu appears on signs hung over a serving bar in the rear where you place your order. Your food is delivered in paper and plastic, of course.
And good food it is, if you do as you should and order Greek. Ikaros offers lasagna, spaghetti, three versions of eggplant parmigiana and Ikaros' "airborne pizza," which somehow made me feel it might come flying at us from the kitchen. You also can order fish or shrimp and chips, a hero souvlaki, gyro, spanakopita and Greek salad.
One of our daughters ordered fish and chips, $2.35, which was served Arthur Treacher's style: battered, greasy and on top of a basket of french fries. It was okay, she said. Her sister ordered cheese pizza, $3.40, which did not fly as promised. There was too much cheese and not enough sauce for her taste. The crust was soggy, too, and we agreed we've tasted much better.
The same was not true of the souvlaki and gyros. These Greek versions of the Italian submarine, the Jewish Deli sandwhich and other such ethnic meals-in-the-hand were terrific. Souvlaki, $2.20, consists of Middle Eastern bread filled to overflowing with shish kebob -- skewered chunks of tender roasted meat, covered with lettuce, tomato and crumbled feta cheese. It was delicious.
The gyro (pronounced year-o) is the real star of the show at Ikaros.It is put together for you in the front of the shop, where two upright spits are mounted near the window. The spits hold alternate rounds of beef and lamb stacked together and roasted to a juicy turn. Meat for the gyro is freshly sliced from the spit and crammed into warm pita bread, then topped with tomato, lettuce, onion, oregano and a dash of oil and lemon. For $2.25 you get a scrumptious dinner in a pocket of low-calorie bread.
For dessert you can have rice pudding or carrot cake, but why would you want to when you can indulge in baklava for 75 cents? They serve a wonderful version of the honey and nut confection with the same homemade quality we have enjoyed at Greek Orthodox parish festivals.
And the place is not completely without character. There is Greek music on the jukebox. Play something you can't pronounce, stare at the poster of the Acropolis and sniff the aroma of spit-roasted lamb -- you'll have at least the small pleasures of Athens for pocket money. Our tab for five was $17.50, complete.