Delectables: Club sandwich 

The old downtown mainstay returns in the Irwin Street Market

From 1986 to 1998, Delectables (660 Irwin St., 404-586-0920, www.irwinstreetmarket.com) was a favorite lunchtime destination for many Atlantans. After losing its space in the Fulton County Public Library, however, owner Nancy Smith chose to focus on the catering business and did not reopen. That was until last October, when the eatery suddenly resurfaced in the eclectic Irwin Street Market to the delight of many former customers.

The menu is mostly comprised of sandwiches, made with bread from the Breadgarden, which comes with sides ranging from kettle-cooked potato chips to a vinegary black-eyed-pea salad dotted with celery, red onion and sweet tomatoes. The lemon-tarragon chicken salad ($9), a crowd favorite, has moist chunks of poached Bell & Evans chicken, bright bursts of fresh tarragon and the proper amount of mayo served on toasted slices of ciabatta loaf. But the "Key Lime Tuna" salad ($8.50) was underseasoned and too runny from the addition of yogurt and Key lime juice. Leftovers are at their best in the "Thanksgiving Turkey" ($9), a sandwich of thin slices of freshly roasted turkey, a thick slab of moist cornbread dressing and cranberry-infused mayo. Meaty slices of grilled eggplant ($8.50) layered with homemade walnut-basil pesto, fresh goat cheese and roasted red peppers pressed inside a dense onion focaccia bun makes one of the most surprisingly filling sandwiches. A handful of basic salads and a soup of the day are available as a full portion or in the "Half and Half," ($8.50), a half-sandwich served with salad or a cup of soup. The gazpacho ($2.95/small or $4.50/large), however, disappointed with a consistency more salsa than silk and a muddled flavor from one too many ingredients.

The food holds up well if you're grabbing it to go, but the tidy presentation on wood trays lined with red-and-white checkered paper, and the prospect of a sweet bite from the neighboring Jake's Ice Cream and Sweet Pockets Cupcakes stalls, are reason enough to linger.

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