Arthur’s in Hyde Park has always been the quintessential neighborhood bar, especially for people who don’t live in the neighborhood. So when I heard it had a new winter menu, I had to check it out.
We strolled in on a Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. and the place was packed with people in semi-trance states, absorbed by beer and the Bengals. Miraculously, we managed to grab a table. It was my third time at Arthur’s that week, only because every time I’d met a friend for drinks or dinner, they’d said, “I’d really like to go to Arthur’s.”
But I still wasn’t tired of it. When I lived in Hyde Park years ago, I used to go to Arthur’s at least twice a week. In fact, I’m guessing that about a quarter of my entry-level communications job salary in those days went to Arthur’s. The rest of it I probably wasted.
Apparently, there are a lot of Arthur’s regulars who feel the same way. There’s a mural with a bunch of the caricatures that were once featured on the walls. I don’t know if any of them are still on the walls, but I swear there are a couple of men that sit at the end of the bar that have been there since at least 2002.
Service on Sunday was a bit slow, but the place was packed and it was hard to move through the crowded-together tables.
I ordered the Hyde Park Hot Brown ($8.50), an open-faced turkey sandwich layered with tomato, spinach, and bacon, topped with homemade cheese sauce and baked. Diet food, clearly. This won out over the Chicken-n-Biscuits and Shrimp Po Boy, which also sounded tempting.
Our meals came out 20 minutes later, extremely hot. In fact, I burned my tongue biting into the sandwich. But I’m not complaining. Can you really complain when your food comes out “too hot” in a restaurant? It’s like complaining that it’s too flavorful or that your date is too beautiful. It was the perfect comfort food — savory turkey, crisp bacon and a gooey mess of cheese and bread. The pizza was also pretty good, a pita crust with fresh basil pesto (not overwhelming), baby spinach and black olives. I’m never crazy about a pita crust and would like to have tried it with the goat cheese, but maybe next time.
The important thing is, Mikey liked it.
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