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A study in contrasts--Juliano's Raw and Balboa Prime--LONG

ChineseChou | Aug 16, 200402:16 PM

So I was a little conflicted this weekend.

On Saturday, I went with some vegetarian friends to Juliano's Raw. I went only out of a rubber necker's curiosity--you know, you don't wanna look but you've gotta. It was surprisingly tastey, proselytizing aside. The menu is aobut 20 pages long, most of it devoted to rants about how great raw food is for your body, etc. If you ignore that, you get to about 5 pages of actual food. First off, none of the descriptions are helpful in any way to describe what actually arrives on your plate. We started off with the "hummus and chips." Chips tasted like stale, too-thick tortilla chips. Hummus was a little too salty but not bad. It's hard to describe what it tasted like. Maybe salty nori?

My friend (also a devote carnivore) ordered the Tuna-something solely because the description was kinda cute ("you know that tuna spelled backwards is "a nut"!). I forget the name of what I ordered but it was their version of lasagna with zuchini in place of noodles and finely chopped cauliflower in place of riccota. Both those dishes were really really in so good, I would go back on a nice summer day to enjoy a light, flavorful lunch near the beach.

What was funny was that the other three in our group, all vegetarians, didn't take to the raw concept. One had the "meat and potatos" which was a brick of something dark and brick-like. Minced cauliflower (flavored differently) was the mashed potatos. Why would you order soemthing called meat and potatos at a veggie restaurant? Anyway, I didn't try the other two's dishes but they didn't seem enthralled with them.

Down side for all was that entrees were $20-$25. Really expensive, I thought.

Last night was Balboa Prime. Really good. Unfortunately, I was unable to try the lobster that was so highly recommended but I enjoyed my bone-in Kansas City filet. My BF had the porterhouse. both steaks had a healthy crust of salt on the outside, which I really like. The green beans were good, if a little salty. The horseradish scalloped potatos were not great. It came in a big brick and didn't taste very much of horseradish. My BF declared the cheesecake with cabernet reduction and strawberries very tastey. No apps.

So, even though these two restaurants are very different, there were two common themes running throughout--salt and bricks.

8462 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: (323) 650-8383

Juliano's Raw
609 Broadway • Santa Monica, California 90401
310.587.1552 • fax. 310.587.1562

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