Short on time? Watching your budget? Ici Urban Bistro in the Sofitel Lafayette Square comes to the rescue of discriminating diners with the 30 Minute Lunch: three different menus — Bistro, Delight and Daily Creation — consisting of four courses served all at once for $28.

(Courtesy Sofitel Washington)

Delight lives up to its billing. With a big white plate acting as a canvas, four smaller plates display a quartet of compositions. I begin with a bar of velvety peppers sandwiching caper-sparked mussels; forge on to a pretty salad of roasted beets with creamy goat cheese dressing; and continue with a bit of lean grilled buffalo dappled with parsley relish and served on a colorful succotash. Seducing me from the far left corner of the arrangement is a small parfait glass with grapefruit sorbet and orange segments dappled with a froth of yogurt.

Each dish is a few pleasing bites, art you can eat. The mini-feast is slimming, too, since the choices also appear on a separate De-Light menu, which assigns a mere 162 calories to the mussels and fewer than 300 calories to the buffalo.

Welcoming service in a chic space helps turn lunch into an event. 

The catch? Adding a glass of one of the featured red or white wines puts a dent in the deal. The pairings cost between $15 and $18. Ooh la ouch.

Ici Urban Bistro, 805 15th St. NW. 202-730-8800.