Going Parisian at Sketch

Lunchtime Snob


The weather is prime for patio seating these days, which means it's time to find your new favorite hangout. Though I'm usually first to suggest those that serve beer and even stronger liquor, there's a new spot that should definitely be considered for your next outing — especially if your lunch parameters involve fine art.

Sketch at the Museum combines bistro dining with the San Antonio Museum of Art's plethora of collections. Even if you're not hoping to spend a few hours perusing the upcoming "Rodin: The Human Experience" before grabbing a bite, or if you're only on an hour-long break from work, Sketch should be in your repertoire, if only for the fine use of space. Housed inside the Hops Building behind the museum, the tiny café has used its interiors expertly. Because there isn't an honest-to-god kitchen inside the building, the eatery is instead outfitted with small appliances that handle the bulk of the menu. Baked goods, of the French variety, naturally, are created off-site.

Backed by Jose Ramon Campos (who opened CommonWealth Coffee & Bakery) and helmed by Olivier Pheulpin, Sketch is probably the best execution the Hops Building has seen after hosting La Boulangerie and Wild Beast before. It's a generally inviting space that holds a massive art-filled table at its center featuring a massive tree that branches off above the table.

When it comes to the food, Francophiles will find familiar items as they would at Sketch's sister eatery CommonWealth. My visits included a cheesy croque monsieur with a bowl of roasted tomato soup and buttery quiche Popeye. Prices are reasonable, with single items running in the $5.50 to $9 range, and if you're able to keep yourself from the pastries a) you're a better person than I am and b) you'll be able to keep lunch affordable.

Though crepes aren't usually served on weekdays (and instead reserved for an idyllic brunch on weekends where you can overlook all the joggers and tourists from the patio), I was able to try the ham and cheese variety during a second visit. Though a bit doughier than I've previously enjoyed, the crepe will set you up for a fun afternoon through the museum or keep you sated through dinnertime.

If Sketch keeps up this "Ladies Who Lunch" vibe through the spring, it should be able to maintain that steam through mid-summer renovations, which will add a kitchen to the space. Until then, keep the cucumber-infused water, veggie-filled quiches and pleasant patio lunches coming.