Hours. Open daily, Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m. until 1 a.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. until 1 a.m.; Sundays, 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Atmosphere: Tables with quick deli service.
Price Range: Hot dogs from $1.50; assortment of $3-range sandwiches and entrees from $4.50 to $9.95.
Credit Cards: Master Charge and Visa for purchases over $10.
Special facilities: High chairs and booster seats. Rest rooms are downstairs. No special parking arrangement. Complete carry-out delicatessen, bakery and candy.
I'm always a little leery of one new Northwest restaurant opening, especially at a location where another has failed. After all, there is no shortage of restaurants along Connecticut Avenue.
I'm also a little suspect of restaurants that try to do it all in one personality Varying it with combination sandwiches and a variety of reubens fits the mold.
But when a number of salads are offered, as well as chicken, fish, beef and vegetarian entrees, there is a lot happening. But wait, there's more. Side-dish possibilities wander far beyond cole slaw and potato salad. Desserts occupy a solid paragraph on the menu, not to mention the eggs, omelettes or brunch.
That's what Mr. L's is all about: food, lots of it surprisingly well prepared.
Portion size is no failing here either. When soup is described as a bowl, it does not mean something about an inch bigger than a cup. A bowl of soup here is a meal.
Our children were dilighted with the chicken soup with matzoh ball ($1.75). The stock is more of a beef-infiltrated one, as if the brisket has entertained the chicken soup. It works. The large matzoh ball is somehow still light.
Other soups, including a daily special, are available. No one wants you to suffer with just one choice in a category.
You name it, they'll have it in the deli sandwich department. Our son's corned beef ($3.75), described as "always lean," had no difficulty with honesty.
On the entree list, brisket of beef is served with potato pancakes ($6.95). Yet in a special box on the first page, it is offered at $4.95. My husband chose the latter. It was wonderful -- thin slices of brisket literally filled the plate. The two potato pancakes with a side dish of apple sauce were almost a meal in themselves. The price discrepancy is unclear -- probably just due to the large: menu. It could not mean more food.
I selected the sweet-and-sour stuffed cabbage ($5.95). From the speed of the service and the intensity of steam erupting from the cabbage rolls, you know microwave ovens are not far behind. Yet, they do not play havoc with the food.
The tomato sauce covering the cabbage rolls reflected just the right amount of seasoning and the famous Hungarian or German dish (depending on your orientation) fulfilled fond remembrances. A gigantic baked potato and a side dish of bland, canned green beans came with the entree.
We had begun our nibbling enterprise with potato skins ($1.25). We were anticipating a small, unseasoned order. What we were served were potato skins quickly deep fried and not burned, with a light-sour-cream dressing that had been delicately seasoned. We controlled ourselves and did not order a second helping.
The cole slaw (95 cents) also did well in the creamy category. One might not need a side dish, as the sandwiches are delicately garnished for color with a radish, orange and dill pickle. Yet, I wouldn't skip the potato skins. eggplant, zucchini and onion rings are other offerings.
Desserts need special attention. The mere mention does not do them justice. As our waiter suggested, take a stroll by the case and decide which delight appeals most to you.
It's a hard decision, even when you press your face to the pastry glass and think how many additional calories you want to add to your dinner. We considered the raspberry layer cake, the strawberry shortcake and the black forest torte.
None of the things that can go wrong with a black forest torte had affected this one. It was an absolute mountain of a portion, bouncing with cherries and smothered in the whipped frosting.
We also shared one very large chocolate chip cookie (75 cents). It, too, represented freshness and was filling. No doubt, about it, someone knows how to bake.
Haagen Dazs ice cream is also available, by the dish or as a sundae. Desserts may be one good reason to try Mr. L's, for there are very few restaurants where one can satisfy so many sweet-tooth cravings.
Yet the dinner dishes convincd me you'd be missing part of the fun by going just for dessert. Mr. L's works had at creating a total delicatessen. Beer and wine are available, but so are egg cream and Dr. Brown's Celery Tonic -- both as important to the deli atmosphere as the few Old World/New World photographs lining the walls.
Our meal for four, including tax and tip, was $32.89. That also included a quarter-pound of jelly beans that had been tempting the children since we walked in the door. o
Next time maybe we'll sample the spinach salad or a turkey reuben; maybe just salami and eggs or ratatouille. It's all there, and we're glad.