Julia’s Restaurant: A eating room appropriate for each members and non-members | East Bay Categorical

A buddy of mine lately joined the Berkeley Metropolis Membership. I had been to the Julia Morgan Constructing a number of occasions to see performs on the Central Works Theater Firm however by no means stayed for a meal. I had deliberate to attempt the meals when the earlier chef, Fabrice Marcon, launched a brand new menu a number of years in the past (starting of the 12 months, Marcon kicked off a brand new gig in Montana). However then got here 2020. With out an outside eating space, the considered Julia’s Restaurant slipped from my thoughts. When my girlfriend invited me to fulfill her there for lunch final week, I hesitated a second earlier than saying sure.

I would at all times imagined an obnoxious formal eating room with snooty membership members sniffing at my unhealthy perspective and inappropriate apparel. As I suspected, the stays of a gown code hung in a cabinet on the entrance of the restaurant. I noticed a lone white button-up shirt, tie, and blue blazer entice nobody’s consideration. Our server did not touch upon my denims, t-shirt or sneakers so the gown code could also be lifeless or nonetheless sacred at dinner.

After our lunch, I sensed that exclusivity could have been early on the founders’ agenda, however I solely acquired fleeting glimpses of it. (Analysis paper alert for Berkeley college students: Have been folks of colour allowed to hitch when it opened in 1930?) On the day I visited, the Metropolis Membership obtained principally contented spirits, who roamed the various empty rooms. They may learn a limiteless variety of undisturbed dusty books within the library or dance collectively in an unobstructed ballroom.

We arrived on the second ground eating room in the direction of the tip of the lunch service. An instrumental model of “Jeepers Creepers” got here by means of the audio system. The music then transitioned right into a steady, all-jazz soundtrack that would have been lifted out Bullets over Broadway. After taking within the tapestries and the pure gentle streaming in by means of the home windows, I additionally noticed two separate diners, a person and a lady, consuming alone.

Julia’s is the primary restaurant I have been to shortly the place I believed to myself I may eat right here alone and never really feel self-conscious about doing so. The person by no means seemed up from his plate and ate along with his earplugs firmly in place. Between spoonfuls of soup, the lady, who had the looks of a professor, studied the paperwork unfold out on the desk.

What’s left of Chef Marcon’s menu is a straightforward record of things you’d discover at any French-influenced American nation membership, akin to a spring salad ($23), quiche ($18), a hamburger ($19), and a grilled rooster sandwich ($19). When our meals arrived, we have been each stunned by the cautious and professional preparation of our trusted entrees.

The spring salad might be made with trout, rooster or avocado. My rooster breast was grilled and nonetheless tender. The lettuce was frivolously dressed with a refined truffle French dressing. I choose a hunk of blue cheese on chopped salads, however I ate each chew on the plate, all the way down to the shredded radishes and the finely diced peeled cucumber. My buddy loved her complete burger. And neither of us may cease snacking on the most effective fries I’ve tried this 12 months. They weren’t too salty or greasy, simply good and golden, wrapped in a tanned paper cone. A pleasant contact of quirkiness and I have no idea what.

The one dish neither of us have been thrilled with was the vanilla crème brûlée. Not essentially due to the style, however the way in which it was served in a shallow dish. It threw out the ratio of much less crème to an excessive amount of brûlée.

As soon as the varsity 12 months has begun, Julia’s Restaurant also needs to be a perfect place to accommodate Berkeley college students when their household involves city. They serve an unambitious, extra reasonably priced menu than, say, Chez Panisse, with an identical culinary agenda. One which goals to supply contemporary, native components that may solely disappoint the pickiest member of a specific household. Though I can not think about anybody having an overheated dialogue or damage emotions whereas consuming inside the soothing secluded partitions of the constructing.

Julia’s Restaurant, open for lunch Wed-Sat 12 noon-2pm, dinner Tue-Sat 5-7:30pm, 2315 Durant Ave, Berkeley. 510,848,7800. berkeleycityclub.com/julias-restaurant