My wife and I recently had a friend relocate to the area from Michigan, where Amy grew up. This particular friend shares in our love and appreciation of good food, whether cooked at home or served in a restaurant. In the couple months that he's been here, we've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of sharing some of our favorite places in the area with him.
The most recent place we took him to is Julian's. Anyone who is well versed in local cuisine has at least heard of Julian's. They are located on Broadway in Providence and earned some great press over the years. Access from the highway from Seekonk couldn't be easier.
Some of the interior decorations of the restaurant have changed over the years. There used to be some mix and match memorabilia and artwork on the walls. Sometimes quite odd and dark, but they've transitioned to having photography and artwork on the walls available for sale. The reception area and bar space is still busy with cool stuff to look at, and you can tell that a love of Star Wars runs deep. At one point they used to have a television that looped Star Wars with zero volume. The have also been known to feature retro Muppets episodes in the bathroom decorated by psychedelic wallpaper and Pez dispensers. The front windows are covered with local advertising posters for various music events, farm stand info, and culture events that take place in the community from which Julian's gets their patrons.
Depending on the time of year and the day of the week, wait times for breakfast tables commonly exceed an hour, and, honestly, it's worth it. A good way to pass at least a couple minutes of waiting is reading the specials board. They have a specials chalkboard that is not to be ignored. It consists of interesting variations of pancakes, eggs benedicts, hashes, and drinks. Breakfast places have many common theme's running through them. Denny's, IHOP, and Waffle House (a personal favorite based on lack of local availability) and also other local favorites like Brickway and Louie's serve up eggs, pancakes, waffles and breakfast meats in their most basic format without any substantial variation from place to place. At Julian's, the menu in general and the specials board especially reflects a chef that has creativity and vision that I have not seen matched anywhere in a breakfast menu. The usage of atypical combinations and ingredients truly transform breakfast options into something special and unique.
Once you're lucky enough to get seated, I highly recommend you start with a Bloody Mary. Typically, I won't drink tomato juice. I don't really like it. Nor do I really like tomatoes on burgers and sandwiches. However, the Bloody Mary's at Julian's are the best I have ever had, and really opened my eyes to what a Bloody Mary should be. The house recipe is a fantastic mix of spice and seasonings. Through the glass you can see a chunky thick mixture of horseradish and other spices. This mix is what I aspire to make my homemade Bloody Mary's like. It has a spicy kick and collective flavor that transforms a tomato juice based drink into something that I can't resist ordering. The specials menu also almost always consists of a champagne based drink too.
I have a regular order that I get at Julian's about one out of three times. I order an omelet with some consistent ingredients, sausage, peppers and cheese. From there, I substitute my toast for an everything bagel with their home made Boursin cream cheese. I don't really know that much about Boursin cheese, and I haven't had it anywhere other than Julian's on my bagels. However, I make every new person that we introduce to Julian's try it, and they absolutely loves it. It isn't a huge difference from regular cream cheese, but it ads just enough of something to make it special. With the omelet and bagel comes their house hash brown potatoes. Their menu offers five standard substitutions plus maybe an extra from the specials menu. Their specialty hashes, just like the rest of the menu, add additional ingredients to something standard that make them great. Most recently I substituted the the regular hash with pork with salsa and pepperjack hash.
My other regular go-to option at Julian's is their eggs benedicAt this point I shouldn't even need to say that its not your typical eggs benedict. Their traditional benedict, is the most similar to what you'd get elsewhere except that the base of bread is not an english muffin, but a thicker crusty bread. They're all served with steak knives which are needed to get through the thick and delicious bread and maintain organized bites that combine all the components without tearing apart the whole. On out most recent visit, Amy went with a benedict from the specials menu that came with typical eggs and hollandaise on top of chicken and asparagus. My wife is a little more risk adverse than I am with trying new things, and the consistency of the performance of Julian's in general with the usage of ingredients she loves separately made her excited to order it.
Our friend, Nic, having never been there before, had no background to build on when browsing the menu. After a tough decision, he went with an omelet from the standard menu titled The Whiplash. It consisted of swordfish, roasted corn, jalapenos, and queso fresco. Who would ever have thought of putting these ingredients together in an omelet, let alone making it a standard option on the menu? The answer is the head chef at Julian's, and he's definitely onto something. Nic loved the omelet. I should have sneaked a bite, but it disappeared rather quickly from his plate.
Julian's does a great job catering to some demographics that are typically ignored by restaurants in general. They have some numerous selections for vegetarians and vegans on the menu. I personally don't think I keep my taste buds satisfied leading a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but I respect Julian's for giving those that do follow those lifestyles more options. I bet its tough for vegetarians and vegans to go out to eat and find multiple options on a menu.
The Julian's beer menu is also something that has earned respect locally for its worldly and diverse selections. The beer menu was carefully constructed by someone with some serious beer drinking experience and a palate that matches the appreciation for the uniqueness and diversity of the food. The beer menu doesn't have any of your basics on it like Bud, Coors, Corona, or Heineken on it. Maybe they do offer them, but they're not on their online menu. The selections are numerous, and represent a true beer connoisseur's dream.
After all these years living in the area, I am somewhat ashamed to say that I've never been to Julian's for dinner. With my obvious love of their breakfast offerings, I'm sure it would be a great experiencThe dinner time food options would lend itself much more to picking from the beer menu versus the tried and true bloody mary. The last thing I should mention is to give their home made catsup and hot sauce a try. I don't know of any other restaurants that really care enough to construct a couple of their own condiments. The people that I have gone to Julian's over the years with have all had mixed feelings about them. The catsup and hot sauce were created by someone who clearly knows what they are doing, and they're worth a try for sure.