Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

Atmosphere: Surprise serenity.

Price range: Sandwiches from $1.75 to $4.25. Average house speciality $4.

Credit cards: American Express, Mastercard and Visa.

Reservations: Large groups.

Special features: Highchairs and booster seats. Some problems maneuvering wheelchairs at entrance. Shopping center parking lot. Children's menu. Full-service delicatessen in front.

When you're too tired to cook, when everyone is rushing around until past dinner time, when you want more than fast food but without a long restaurant wait, the WolfTrap Deli seems to have been made to order.

In the front of the shop is a delicatessen with a large variety of meats and cheeses and walls filled with speciality items. In the back is another world.

Candles on each table bring a quiet peacefulness to the long room. Cafe doors cleverly used create private dining nooks while ceiling fans whirr lazily above.

Pictures by local artists are for sale along the wall. The whole effect is one of casual comfort. Nothing is fancy, but everything is in order and the staff helpful and attentive.

Crepes, quiches, omelettes and salads complement an otherwise routine sandwich menu. Several daily specials are added to appeal to larger appetites. A salad bar is available either a la carte or included with dinners. In keeping with the deli's total attitude, the salad toppings were well-maintained and everything was arranged neatly.

We ordered sandwiches and supplemented dinner with a la carte additions of soup, salad and tempura fried mushrooms.

The children's menu caters to children with hamburger/hot dog tastes. We have become more adventuresome and coaxed our children into trying other offerings from the regular menu.

While my husband sampled the light but uninspiring delicatessen onion soup ($1.25), different from the richer French cafe fare, the children shared a trip to the salad bar ($2.65), which they enjoyed.

Any good delicatessen knows that sandwiches are the mainstay of its operation. WolfTrap adds the opportunity to turn a routine sandwich into a submarine for a nominal added cost, supplying rolls and other extra ingredients. There are also a number of combinations and triple-deckers.

The Queen ($3.50) is a concoction of unlikely partners that succeeds: grilled pastrami with cream cheese and Swiss on pumpernickle, and it rivals the traditional sandwich combination leader, the Reuben. The pastrami was surprisingly lean.

Likewise, the Texas Style sandwich of barbecue beef on a kaiser roll ($3.50) provided a carefully sliced portion of lean beef, accompanied with first-class steak fries.

WolfTrap also supplies the standard deli drinks like Dr. Brown's cream soda and a cool glass of beer.

The meatball sub ($3.25) was disappointing. Both the meat and the sauce were quite bland.

But all was not lost, as the one dinner special we tried, roast beef ($5.95), proved adequate for two people to share and was the evening's surprise in both portion size and taste. Two thin pieces of medium-rare top round, accompanied by the salad bar and steak fries, demonstrated WolfTrap's beyond-a-sandwich personality.

The selection of side orders was limited. The tempura mushroom caps ($1.25) were totally out of place here. Large mushrooms were buried under a thick, bright yellow dough that suffocated the mushrooms.

But if you experiment a little and stay within reason, this delicatessen will be a welcome addition for all those evening emergency meals. No desserts are made on the premises, but the carrot cake ($1.25) was a light blend with a cream cheese frosting that put a sweet cap on the evening's meal.

If your sit-down meal doesn't satisfy your delicatessen yearnings, then visit the front counter for take-home specialties.

WolfTrap Deli performs a service for all those evenings lost in hustle and bustle when dinner preparation seems more than you can handle. With all our sampling, tax and tip, our bill for four was $32.39.