I had passed by Federal on a couple of occasions before and was intrigued by the lunch chalkboard menu. So the wife and I decided to have our weekly Friday lunch here today.
I had soup and half sandwich. The soup was a wonderful tomato soup with lot of basil. The sandwich was a panini with proscuitto, salami, fresh mozzerella and tomato (which were usually flavorful for this time of year). It came with the possibly the best fries I've ever had. What made them so good was that they had taken salt, fresh parsley, and garlic and crushed them together and slrinkled them over the fries. Yummy! My wife had one of their specials of the day, chili relleno. It was a chili stuffed with queso fresco and black beans, with a light outer coating in a piquant chili sauce. It tasted like an authentic Mexican dish rather than the Tex-Mex served at most Mexican restaurants. Who ever is doing the cooking at this place has a deft hand with herbs and spices. This place is also a bargain. Our entrees with coffee came to < $16.
I do have a couple of minor quibbles. First, the waitress couldn't find any sugar for our coffee. She apologized profusely and said she was filling in for the regular waiter. Second, it was cold in there. I suspect they have the thermostat set low to save on the utility bill. But if that's the price to pay to keep this place serving lunch then it's well worth it.
I have praised Federal on Chowhound before for it's great beer selection but I also recommend this place highly to grab a bite to eat, lunch or dinner.
As an aside, after my last report on Starlu I went for lunch there again with some collegues. It was a little bit better experience than the first time but I enjoyed Federal much more. It may not be as chic as Starlu but at 25-50% lower prices I'll take it.