Do you work near the intersection of the Beltway 495 and Route 50? Or grab the Amtrak train or hop on the subway at New Carrollton? If so, look for Kafe Kosmos, a new deli serving quick hot breakfasts and lunches on the ground floor of the Metro-Plex II.
Gene Meshbane, a restaurateur with close to 30 years of experience, opened the deli in June with the hope of making life more enjoyable for the commuters and workers whose lives have a frantic pace.
The deli opens at 7 a.m. to feed the breakfast crowd homemade muffins and biscuits, bagels, croissants and made-to-order omelets. If you don't have time to sit down at one of the many booths or tables, the deli's selection of egg sandwiches allows you to eat on the run. Coffee is a must for most customers and at Kafe Kosmos the fixings bar provides a choice of four Italian flavorings along with the usual sugar and cream.
At lunch, you can head for the hot or cold food bars. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients, the offerings include Caesar salad, vegetables, a pasta dish that changes daily and fresh fruit. For the hot food crowd, the dishes vary from chicken stroganoff to fajitas to jambalaya to Swedish meatballs. And there is almost always some type of Chinese dish such as pepper steak or Kung Pao chicken. All food at either bar is $4.25 a pound, and as far as I could tell, the customers were keeping the staff busy filling up the trays.
Vegetarians will be happy to know their choices extend beyond the salad bar. There is the veggie light (a cold sandwich with fresh veggies, avocado, cheese and hummus) or veggie burgers and the absolutely incredible spinach meltdown ($3.95)--spinach and mushrooms with ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella melted on a slightly thick pita.
For meat-lovers, there's traditional deli fare such as turkey or roast beef sandwiches or hot specialties such as the gyro ($3.95)--the Kosmos version of the traditional Greek sandwich is heavy on the meat and served on a warm pita. And, of course, there are hamburgers, classic Italian hoagies and Reubens. Be sure to check out the "white" board for the daily sandwich special and the soup of the day.
For dessert, my daughter had a housemade chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven. Huge slices of triple-layer cake are another choice, and Kosmos has just started serving ice cream for those afternoon cravings.
The bright and cheery seating area encourages customers to enjoy a bit of conversation with their lunch. It's a wonderful escape if you're tired of eating breakfast on the run or lunch at your desk.
Kafe Kosmos, 8201 Corporate Dr., Landover, Md. 20785; call 301-459-2935. Open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
CAPTION: Gene Meshbane, owner of Kafe Kosmos, delivers a fresh batch of pasta to the hot food bar.