Arts and Letters is a place I’ve been wanting to go to for years, literally. Sometimes I’d get distracted by other places, sometimes I’d try to go but they wouldn’t be open. They’ve even had a great Buy One Get One Free coupon in the Indy, and I *still* couldn’t make a visit happen. But finally, during the lull between Christmas and New Years, I came here for lunch.
Wow, what a lovely little spot. I mean, I’ve looked into the space when visiting Sullivan Goss, and I’ve peeked at the menu in the courtyard plenty of times, but it’s not the same as sitting down at the linen covered table, a budding rose as the centerpiece, with the arbor overhead and being surrounded by art in the galleries when it becomes apparent that this is a secluded gem in downtown.
I was with a party of four, and we shared a charcuterie plate to start, $15. There is normally a selection of charcuterie, of which you can have three. We got the pâté, coppa and pepper salami, which were all fabulous, and came dressed with pickled cauliflower and beets, mustardo and a balsamic reduction sauce. And heaps of bread, which could also be dipped in a herb-seasoned olive oil provided to the table.
Most of us opted for a lunch option called “el niño,” which is the half sandwich, salad and a choice of soup or French fries, for $15. We like having lots of little things to dabble in.
Kent got the Riviera seafood salad, and it looked nice, and contained scallops, shrimp and crab, but honestly I didn’t pay much attention to it until near the end of the meal when I saw it was completely devoured.
George got the Curry chicken salad sandwich, with salad and pumpkin soup. Great flavors, got a little messy, best eaten with a fork.
Lamenting the recent loss of Miss Saigon and its bahn mi, the final sandwich of this lunch was grilled Niman Ranch pork, Vietnamese-style, with lots of crunchy goodies. This “el niño” combination also included the French fries since the diner was a self-proclaimed French fry fanatic. Our waiter said the fries here were amazing, fried in soybean oil to make them lighter. I suspect they also gave them a light coating of cornstarch, because they were indeed light, and crunchy. Even 20 minutes into the meal they were still crisp. So yeah, pretty darn good.
Several acquaintances have talked up the hamburger and the lamb burger, saying they are excellent. It’s a pity I wasn’t able to try them, we all wanted the sandwich and salad combinations that day. But now that I’ve been once, I want to go back.
Btw, Sullivan Goss was preparing a new exhibit of Lockwood de Forest’s art work when I passed through. It should be open by this coming January First Thursday.