I dont eat French food (sorry, Freedom food) very often. Not because I dislike it at all, but simply because there are usually more interesting things to get in Manhattans, and for considerably less money. However, on occasion, its amusing to splurge and see what a place like Julien has to offer (read: someone else was paying. Whoo!)
Its a very attractive place, first of all. Open to the street, long bar, draping curtains all over. We sat down at around 4:30 or 5:00, so they brought us the lunch menu. Dinner didnt start until 5:30, and we were in a hurry. Service was rather slow, sadly, and they didnt bring any bread/butter by to satiate us. Probably cause we were inferior late-lunch customers; the dinner people who came in after us were given rolls etc. Slightly aggravating.
The soup I tried was great, though. It was corn chowder, with leeks, potatoes, and garlic. Lots of it, too, which I didnt expect. I might have had an aura of curry about it, but it was subtle and difficult to tell. Very pleasant overall.
My dining companion ordered goat cheese with vegetables, an appetizer he modified into a main course. It was a very attractive presentation; I would expect nothing less of a decent French place. A few lobes of extremely mild and creamy goat cheese served atop a bed of marinated beets and other less identifiable materials. The cheese was filled with nuts, which works really well, and by then the bread was served, which helped fill out the otherwise fairly small offering.
I sampled what was called actually, I forget what it was called. But, it boiled down to being the Dead Meat with Pickles Platter. Salami, a sort of prosciutto, pate in lardo, and little gherkins. All was basically as Id expected; really really good. Vegetarians, I feel for you. You will never know the joy of sinking your teeth into the processed flesh of some unwitting beast. Nothin better, I gotta say. Actually, I should mention that the salami was especially good. It was softer and more flavorful than most similar products Ive tried, and Ive tried a lot.
Sadly, we didnt have time to sample a desert. There were many interesting offerings; most notably something called Jumbo Papaya Chocolate Bonbon. Maybe next time.
I believe Julien is located on 3rd ave, at about 80th st. If anyones been there for dinner, Id love to hear how the experience was different.