2525 West Main Café; Julian's Restaurant 

Recently Reviewed

When we arrived at 9 p.m. on a Friday, the place had been packed for a while. Fun people-watching, for sure, but the commotion, cigarette smoke and loud music made it difficult to really focus on food and conversation, even in the booth.

Tuesday night turned out to be a much better experience. Our second dinner was half-price and only two booths were occupied with diners. The place seemed much more in control, and that made it a lot easier to enjoy chef Jimmy Whaley's excellent jambalaya ($15), a special, and the salty Okrakoke seafood chowder ($4.25). The rest of the menu is predictably publike with the exception of regularly rotated specials.

Occasionally, Whaley's interest in Southern cooking bogs him down: like the Parisian crab cakes served with escargot in a butter sauce ($15) and the pasta fritters ($7). Adding escargot makes the crab cakes seem like pretenders to culture, and the fried pasta noodles were either too hard or too gummy. Whaley's low-country shrimp ($16), however, is right-on. — Patrick Getlein

2525 W. Main St.


Tuesday - Friday 4 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Saturday 6 p.m.- 2 a.m., Sunday 10:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.

Sunday brunch. Closed Monday.

Julian's Restaurant ($$)

I went to Julian's twice to make sure that it was bad. It was. I have been told that the restaurant's Broad Street location is a Richmond institution. Maybe so, but the West End spot on Three Chopt is an abomination. At Julian's you have three choices: white, red or brown. I had a little of each. White is olive oil and garlic. The garlic is shaved, one of the few — maybe the only — nice touches. My Linguini Clam Sauce (whoever writes the menu needs a lesson or two in grammar and adjectives) was supposedly tossed with cherrystone clams and an olive-oil-and-garlic sauce. In actuality, it was drowned in a half-pint of oil and peppered with salty gray gristle. It cost $12.95. It felt like highway robbery. Red is marinara. Other than being red and chunky it bore little resemblance to marinara. It was bland. And red. Brown is "brown gravy." It was served with dry chicken. It also seemed to be supersaturated with salt and applied with wild abandon.

Everything about this restaurant suggests a "from the package to the plate" approach. I can think of nothing to recommend it. — Randall Stamper

11129 Three Chopt Road

Monday - Friday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.


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