Hours: Open 7 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays.
Credit Cards: Not accepted.
Reservations: Not necessary.
Prices: Breakfast, $1.55 to $5.50; lunch and dinner, $2.75 to $7.95, most dishes around $3.50.
The Newsroom Cafe is one of the best newsrooms in the city. Magazine browsers crowd the place on Saturday nights, news addicts early in the morning. You come here for the news first, but if you happen to be wandering up Connecticut Avenue around dinner time in search of a newspaper or if you're looking for a magazine and a bite to eat after a movie, there's food to satisfy.
Inside, you can eat at the long wooden counter or the cafe upstairs. Or you can order from the outdoor cafe, which seems to attract the most people. It's a Left Bankish kind of place where you go for three cups of strong coffee and discussion. The inside looks surprisingly like California, complete with framed front pages--one from the day Richard Nixon resigned.
The menu at The Newsroom Cafe is fashioned after a tabloid on newsprint with the inevitable menu titles: Sundae Journal and Fruit Times salad, with a Caspian Fantasy and Nude Tuna Salad thrown in. The selections are simple international fare: quiche from Europe, falafel from the Middle East, empanadas from Latin America and the Caribbean and tuna salad from the United States. Much of the food is imported to the Newsroom: the cakes from Ms. Desserts, the empanadas from a Maryland company, the ice cream from Hershey's.
The beer selection is quite good. The list is not meant to compete with the Brickskellar, for instance, but at 33 beers from 24 countries, there is a fine sampling with commendable choices.
Breakfast is limited to Belgian waffles with various toppings (a plain waffle with butter and syrup is not objectionable but boring), decent scrambled eggs, bagels that they won't toast (lots of oozy cream cheese, though), croissants and muffins. The orange juice and grapefruit juice are freshly squeezed.
This is not a place to go when you want a full breakfast; rather it is a stool or a chair, a newspaper and enough coffee to get you through the stock market quotations.
Stick to sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Two dependables are the Daily Lox and the Final Edition. For $3.75, there's a lot of nova on the Daily Lox, and though it's not high quality fish, it gets sufficiently camouflaged by the cream cheese, sprouts, onion and tomato piled high on a bagel. Good deal, good sandwich. The Final Edition--ham, melted swiss and bacon on a croissant--is a taste flash of a similar sandwich at the American Cafe. The Newsroom can be proud of its rendition, for the cheese is spread over an abundant layer of ham and bacon. It is a buttery, smoky amalgam.
Skip the Roast Beef Telegraph, for it's a skimpy collection of flaccid and tasteless meat. The Turkey Tribune sandwich is far better, a soft kaiser roll molded around a mound of finely sliced smoked turkey. The shreds of iceberg lettuce could easily go, for the turkey can stand on its own.
Once outside of U.S. borders, you find unreliable culinary territory. The Jamaican meat pies, Chilean empanadas and Lebanese fatayers (triangles of dough filled with spinach, beef or tomato and cheese) are dried out and doughy, with meager fillings. These skimpy portions are more appropriate as a snack.
Seafood empanadas have the best dough, flaky and light, and although you cannot pinpoint shrimp or scallop, the empanadas are tasty. A mini falafel (sample from the World Platter) is a rubbery version of the spicy chickpea burger.
Garnishes are tabulleh or yogurt dips in tiny cups that can be used on sandwiches or chips. They are thoughtful additions but not great.
The Newsroom Cafe won't make it onto the front page, but it is a good enough filler.