Hours: Tuesday through Thursday: lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; dinner, 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday: lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; dinner, 5 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday: brunch, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; dinner, 5 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday: brunch, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., dinner, 5 to 10 p.m. Monday: dinner only, 5 to 10 p.m. Prices: Brunch entrees, $4.75-6.75; dinner entrees, $5.95-13.95.Cards: American Express, Carte Blanche, Diner's Club, MasterCard, Visa. By Eve Zibart Washington Post Staff Writer

Tunnicliff's menu may be the ultimate in melting-pot cuisine. With the bar firmly under the influence of the Irish spirits of the Hill, and a mash of dishes that recalls the foreign accents behind the federal union, Tunnicliff's is as irresistible a bit of American artifice as can be imagined.

On weekends, for example, the bar is iced down for raw clams and Long Island oysters: Wash them down with brandy, the way Daniel Webster did it. If you're there for the long haul, pull in a Bass from the tap and kick it with a splash of Guinness Stout.

If you want serious brunch stroll past the buffet before you order. For $6.95, you can work your way through the platters of fruit, cold prepared salads (mesquite-grilled chicken drizzled with sesame oil, tortellini in walnut cream), muffins and breads. For $4, you can use the buffet as a side to an entree or omelet.

The chicken salad is good, but at Tunnicliff's, the eggs came first -- poached in various New Orleans derivatives, scrambled with smoked salmon, frittata'd two ways ("napoli" with sausage and cheese, "gardiniera" with zucchini and mushrooms), fried a few more ways and rolled around a variety of "fantasy" fillings that include crab meat and scallops, creamed spinach and parmesan cheese, and the elegant watercress and herbed cheese.

The real standout is Tunnicliff's new recipe for fried bread, a deep-fried variant on French toast. Order the mesquite-grilled Virginia ham to go with it, a half-inch slab of center steak made sweeter by the smoke.

At dinner, the mesquite grill is the calling card, and it's shown off to best advantage by Tunnicliff's version of the mixed grill: a just-charred chicken breast; a superlative, and not small, filet mignon (topped with anchovy butter); and a swordfish steak that gives it a run for the tenderness title.