Thursday, April 8, 2010

Broadway/Across I-95

JULIAN'S (318 Broadway, Providence, RI 401-861-1770) is across I-95 from downtown and not on Atwells Avenue, which qualifies it as off the known track for many. Filled on a recent Tuesday night, Julian's draws a young crowd - forty is old here. Venture in even if you have aged out of the general demographic; it's a friendly place. A reservation is good because people often eat at the bar and there isn't much waiting-around space. Well-known for brunch, which is served 9-5 on weekdays (M-F) and 9-2:45 on weekends, Julian's is open for dinner every night. It is famously vegetarian/vegan friendly, offering vegan pancakes, black bean burgers, tempeh sausage cassoulet, etc. Still, meat and fish offerings are prominent - leg of lamb, corned beef, poached sole, as well as steak and burgers. Look at their website to see how these dishes are prepared. For instance: Blue Cheese Broiled Sirloin with beet-turnip gratin, watercress/macintosh apple salad & charred shallot vinaigrette. You get the idea. Recently, mahi mahi was on the specials board and it was perfectly prepared. Burgers (beef or vegetarian) are on very good rolls. Re the beef, be aware -  a medium/rare order was on the "done" side. Most definitely, order a side of smoked onion rings.

A really good thing about Julian's is the place. It feels like a bar that just happens to be about food. The bar is noteworthy on its own because the draft beer options are impressive, 16 choices and not one of them advertises at the Super Bowl. You can order flight samplers and try a few. The bottled selection is far bigger, and apart from a nod to the weak (a famous light beer) and some not-great specialty brews, it is wide-ranging and unusual (prices running from $4 to $35).

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