Colleen Bennett - Sotheby's International Realty

Sneaking Away to Lunch in San Marino

January 13, 2011
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Dining alfresco at Julienne's.

Dining alfresco at Julienne's.

Julienne’s is the quintessential Los Angeles restaurant button-holed in the quaint and quiet community of San Marino.  Our server Herbert was a jovial host who told us he had been with the French-inspired restaurant for 25 years. He said he started a year after Susan Compoy*founded the eatery.

Despite the busy lunch crowd salivating for our seats on a spectacular winter day for which Southern California is famous, Herbert gave us ample time to peruse the menu and enjoy the sunlight streaming onto our white linen-dressed table on Julienne’s arch-lined patio.

Taste of Asia La Verne

Herbert applauded my choice of a curry chicken rice dish with lightly seasoned broccoli. Colleen ordered a cobb salad/quiche combo while Roger manned up with a chicken Caesar sandwich. I’m not sure who came out the winner.

The cobb featured tender chunks of grilled filet of beef, along with Gorgonzola, Applewood Bacon, avocado tossed in a paprika vinaigrette. I greedily devoured the portion Colleen gave me to sample. Her vegetable quiche could have used a little more snap or sizzle, but then again I expect everything to taste like pizza. When we asked if the quiche could have been served slightly hotter, no offense was taken. Herbert brought a warmer, gooier slice to our table within seeming seconds. Roger’s grilled breast of chicken was sandwiched between chiabata bread and accented with parmesan cheese, applewood bacon, arugula, red onion and Caesar aioli. While zestier than Colleen’s quiche, it was still a little too predictable in my opinion. While tasty, it wasn’t inspired fare. Perhaps marinate the breast or slice it thinner. As for me, my chicken curry dish was savory and perfectly spiced. The broccoli was tender and couldn’t have been steamed more perfectly.

So, Julienne’s performance was admirable, if slightly uneven. But the sunlight and the wait staff didn’t disappoint.  At that moment, there was no other place I wanted to be for lunch.

Julienne’s, which is open for breakfast and lunch, is located at 2649 Mission Street in San Marino. For more information, call (626) 441-2290.

*Susan, author of “Celebrating with Julienne and restaurateur extraordinaire, passed away in March 2009 after a long brave struggle with breast cancer. Her daughter and business partner Julie continues to operate the restaurant with much success and savoir faire.

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