1211 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington 527-7474 Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. seven days a week. Prices: Breakfast $1.50 to $6.95; lunch $3.25 to $7.95; dinner, soups and appetizers $1.95 to $5.95; sandwiches and entrees $4.95 to $14.95. Cards: Diners Club, American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Carte Blanche. Nonsmoking section available.
The new combination motel/office building that houses Angelo's is built close to the street at the busy intersection of Glebe Road and Washington Boulevard, an area under such rapid development that the anticipated influx of workers looking for food within walking distance should be good news for local eateries.
Angelo's, although not affiliated with the adjacent Comfort Inn Motel, has the look of a sleepy motel coffee shop or restaurant: striped wallpaper in neutral tones of beige and tan, mauve/brown vinyl booths with long benches, and cherry-stained, oversized butcher block tables.
Unquestionably the best bet on the menu is the fish, which is consistently fresh and moderately priced in the $7 to $8 range. I enjoyed a delicate broiled trout amandine, split and boned, and a nicely grilled salmon fillet, although the mediocre Hollandaise sauce was not a plus. My favorite was the whole baby flounder lightly seasoned with oregano and lemon butter. (I was told, however, that an upcoming menu revision will not include this dish.)
As for the rest of the menu, it's a roll of the dice. The appetizers, for example, are rather ho-hum. The generous portion of three thick slices of smoked salmon for $5.95 is ample enough to share, and sharing is a necessity as the salmon is too salty to finish solo. The batter for the chicken nuggets is nicely peppery, but inside the chopped chicken has an unpleasant processed texture. The onion rings are ordinary. Ditto for the onion soup, which is a regular menu item.
But the daily specials tend to be quite good -- for example, a hearty white bean with bacon soup and a rich chicken noodle. Each dinner comes with a choice of the soup du jour or a fresh but ordinary tossed salad. Take the soup.
There are a few Greek touches inspired by the Greek heritage of Angelo's owner and the chef, such as the light and tasty Athenian omelet with fresh tomatoes, black olives and feta cheese, and a decent Greek salad. Unfortunately, the nicely cooked beef shish kebab had been overmarinated, giving the meat a strong aftertaste and mushy texture.
A better beef choice was a special of barbecued baby spare ribs with the tenderness and flavor of well-done pot roast. The sauce was sweet with a faint tang of vinegar.
Gravy turns up where you least expect it, such as the commercial-tasting goo on the shish kebab. On the other hand, the gravy with onions and green peppers was a pleasant twist to the pan-fried calf's liver, which generally was tender although slightly overdone.
Two Italian-style chicken dishes were disappointing. The chicken breasts bathed in a gentle Marsala wine sauce with mushrooms, and the batter-dipped chicken doratti laced with lemon butter, suffered from tasteless meat.
The red meat sauce on a side dish of spaghetti had an unusual taste -- more like apricots than tomatoes.
Of the desserts, all made elsewhere, the ice cream mud pie and the German chocolate cake are safe choices. The hot apple pie had a breadlike crust and an institutional-tasting apple filling.
While the service is friendly and generally competent, the kitchen does not produce consistently good results. Nonetheless, there is a core of good dishes that might make Angelo's a convenient stop for workers and residents in the immediate area.