After a successful soft opening this weekend, Brookside's new Julian (6227 Brookside Plaza) is up and open for all comers to check out food "that won't break the bank, monetarily or calorically," according to Chef Celina Tio.
"I wanted to create a restaurant that I would want to eat at. It needed to have the right price point, a chef-driven menu, and as many local products as possible," says Tio.
The dinner menu reflects that. Starters range from "green eggs & ham," a soft yolk in a spinach flan with prosciutto toast ($6), to house-smoked trout and potato chive pancakes ($8). Three sandwich choices are led by the "b.e.l.t." -- bacon, egg, lettuce and tapenade mayo with fries ($9).
Dinner could be a four-hour braised shorts ribs "pot roast" ($15) or fish "tacos" with egg, cliantro, lime and spanish rice ($14). Boulevard Pale Ale macaroni and cheese with broccoli is $10, and sides -- cheesy grits, cheesy broccoli, onion rings -- are $4.
Tio also wants diners to know that she hopes to keep vegetarians happy by offering substitutions of tofu or housemade saiten. If you've followed her career from her time at The American, you'll be pleased to see one of her signature dishes -- the lobster "shepherd's pie," ($22) is on the menu, too.
She also expects to do well with a line of mini desserts ($4), including baked chocolate puddin' with a giner donut, grilled pound cake with caramel apples and sea salt, and organic squash cheesecake with its very own brittle.
The space, formerly Joe D's Wine Bar, has been transformed with modular, modern furniture and several coats of white paint. In the back dining room, a counter that seats four will have a direct view into the kitchen and a prep station on the other side of an alcove.
While Tio has found the Brookside neighborhood to "be very eager and
supportive," she's also turning to her neighbors for many of the
ingredients on the menu -- using only Shatto milk, Campo Lindo Farms
chicken and Boulevard Beer.
"We're only serving Boulevard Beer here. It's what I like and it's local. It was an easy decision," says Tio.
Julian will also be serving breakfast on the weekends, hoping to find success in between the established brunch crowds at Avenues Bistro and Sharp's.
"I'm sure Sharp's will still have a line out the door. Hopefully we can help bring more people to the neighborhood," says Tio. She's sharing with Sharp's in more ways than one. Julian
opens with a staff of 20, and watchful diners might catch some of their
favorite servers from Sharp's pulling double duty.
Those of you who want to keep up with Tio yourselves can find her on Twitter (@juliankc), where she plans to let people know when a table
might be opening up or what's being featured at the Sunday Night family