Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Julian's, Providence, Rhode Island

As I mentioned, we didn't have a lot of plan when we arrived in Providence for the weekend, so as we explored, and our hunger grew over the afternoon, we used our social media outlets to find our next food stop.  Overwhelmingly, we were told to check out Julian's, a uniquely American style restaurant in the Federal Hill area of the city.  We checked out the menu on line and were thrilled to see some interesting creations.  We began our journey to Julian's almost immediately.

We chose to split a few of their appetizers among us as opposed to having big meals, and settled on their Roasted Winter Squash Savory Donuts with chile-cashew butter,whiskey smoked sugar, & fennel seed créme fraiche, their Caralemized Parsnip and Mushroom dip served with house tortilla chips, their Shiitake- Leek Chow Mein, and their steamed broccoli.  Our little feast was served promptly and we dug in.

I was most excited about the idea of a savory donut so I immediately went for those.  Unfortunately my first taste at Julian's was a bit of a disappointment.  The donuts didn't have any discernable flavor to them, and the roll in sugar made them basically identical to the sweet breakfast treats.  The little donut holes were tasty, but didn't contain the punch of squash, chili, chashews or whiskey- sadly.  The creme fraiche was a tasty addition, but again, lacked the punch of fennel seed.  I had most been looking forward to these treats, and was rather disappointed by the result.

The Caramelized Parsnip and Mushroom dip however was delicious.  The parsnips were every so slightly sweetened, and the earthy mushrooms perfectly balanced the that sweetness to ground this dip as a savory snack.  It had been topped with a kale based pesto, whose garlicky bite was a great addition.  Paired with salty tortilla chips- this was a great dish.

The shiitake- leek chow mein was a really fun recreation of that famous Chinese take out food.  The mushrooms were fresh and meaty, and the leeks lent their subtle onion flavor to the noodles.  I felt that there was a bit too much salt to the dish, but the others felt it was appropriate. 

We ordered the broccoli as an after thought, realizing that our order was severely lacking in nutritional value, but somehow those gently steamed spears of broccoli ended up stealing the show.  The broccoli was nice and fresh, it was cooked to just the right al dente spot, and I believe tossed ever so lightly in a little butter.  It was a wonderful addition to our table, and we ended up fighting over the last pieces -our former childhood selves (haters of the green veggie) shaking their heads in disbelief. 

Overall, I loved the vibe of Julian's.  At first site, it looked like a rough and tumble burger joint.  However the menu was vast in it's creative options, each dish with a unique twist and turn.  There were the missteps along the way, however I could definitely see why Julian's receives so many recommendations -it is a truly cool spot with a really unique food concept.




Jen said...

All my Yelp friends rave about Julian's, but I haven't tried it yet. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I can't wait to read about where else you ate in my new city!

Jen said...

You forgot to mention all the unique sounding desserts on the menu even though we didn't try any! I agree, I think the broccoli was my favorite.

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