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Aug 2, 2006 08:20 PM

New Julie's Kitchen location open in SF FiDi

While I was on vacation last week the new location of Julie's Kitchen (salad bar) opened near my office. It's located on the inside of the block bounded by Market, Fremont, First and Mission (access from all four sides, although the corridor from Market is currently closed for construction -- access is easier from either Fremont (the corridor next to 45 Fremont) or First (the far side of the courtyard next to the bank)).

Julie's is a "high-end" salad bar. It has a lot of Asian offerings, but today is also had filet mignon and sliced hangar steak. It's $7.50/pound (plus tax), but the ingredients and selection are several cuts above the cheaper places around. Unlike the old location, this location has ample seating, both inside (it's a former McDonald's) and outside. Despite the cost, it's going into my regular rotation.

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  1. I am there several times a week since it's across the street from my office and somewhat of a novelty for me at the moment. That said, I think I will still probably be going there months from now. I enjoy the nice, fresh pieces of sushi and the vietnamese summer rolls (although I think the peanut sauce is *actually* straight peanut butter.) I also am partial to the turkey meatloaf and the korean style glass noodles (can't remember the name now.) The ahi tuna is pretty nice, too, melt in your mouth delicious! The chicken parmesan is only so/so as are the egg rolls and pot stickers (o.k, not sure why I was eating that stuff, but I was craving the fried goods one day!) The korean kalbi was pretty tasty too... interestingly they don't seem to serve mashed potatoes (only roasted) which is kind of a bummer when you're having the meatloaf. Don't know what's up with that!

    1. That's good news, because the seating at the Montgomery Julie's is not great. I love their stir-fried brussel sprouts, roasted potatoes, noodle salad, pea shoot salad and tilapia.

      I can usually get away with under $6 for my plate.

      1. Ruth, a big thanks for posting about Julie's. I've seen the Montgomery one but never tried it. The new outpost is closer to my office and upon your recommendation, I stopped by for lunch today. Wow! Yum!
        I like to go heavy on the veg at lunch so I was in heaven. Highlights were the avocado and shrimp salad with a tangy vinegar dressing and the baby pea shoot slaw. I also loved the spicy salmon roll piece and the perfectly seared rare ahi slices (with a max 5 pieces per customer warning sign!).
        I was really hungry and the place was filling up so I didn't even check out the hot offerings but I'll get back there soon. Maybe tomorrow...

        1. I was there a few days ago, and agree that it's pretty tasty. The ahi and the steak slices were both excellent, and I also really liked the Korean(?) noodles. The fresh spring rolls were fine, but I wish that they had more to them than just noodles and shrimp, and that the sauce wasn't just basically peanut butter. I'm very glad to have this addition to the neighborhood.

          1. I'm still not sure about these places. They seem to do a lot of things (from salad to carved turkey to sushi), but none of them are done particularly well. Or maybe I should say that they all seem "okay, but not great." Moreover, the place isn't cheap.

            Having said that, I needed a quick lunch today during a break in a meeting and my clients (in from San Antonio) thought this newest Julie's was great.

            I'm sorry, but I've tried it maybe three times now and each time I've walked out thinking (1) it was too expensive for what I got and (2) I could've done better.

            Maybe my opinion will change.

            6 Replies
            1. re: DRR

              I agree that it's pricey, and not all of the items are worth it. I go to the Julie's on Montgomery if I need a quick, healthy lunch. If I have more time, I prefer the salad bar at Lightening Foods in one of the Embarcaderos. I get about the same amount of food for $1-$2 cheaper, and the roast chicken there is great. Not quite the selection of Julie's (no sushi, no salmon, no pea shoots) but good stuff nonetheless.

              1. re: pane

                LF is in Embarcadero 3. The best salad bar ever as far as I'm concerned! Great dressings (basil/white wine and cramy balsamic are my favorites) and I think it's $5.95/lb? The green beans and roast chicken are great. You get a free drink if your salad is over $10. They also have large made-to-order salads (grilled chicken caesar, etc) that are a good value.

              2. re: DRR

                Oh, I agree that it's definitely expensive, I left there with a $9 lunch. However, I work RIGHT nearby, and it's difficult for me to find pretty good and relatively healthy food in the area for lunch, so I'm happy it's in the neighborhood. I do love the new Mixt Greens, but it's also not cheap.

                1. re: DRR

                  I think with all the by-the-pound bars, the value depends on what you choose and how carefully you choose. If you mostly go for salady stuff, then there are other, better, cheaper places. But where else can you get filet mignon and seared ahi for $7.50/lb?

                  The trick to getting a good value is to avoid the temptation to put more in your container than you can or should eat, and not to overload with cheap-but-bulky things. I know it's easy to end up with a $10 lunch and feel like you spent too much money, but very few people should actually be eating a pound and a half of food for lunch. If you exercise some discretion, you can have a very nice lunch that's a good value for under $7 (as I did at Julie's yesterday).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Exactly! My sushi/summer roll lunch never tops $8 and has been as low as $5. Really can't beat that. Avoid a few hunks of mango which, with the water weight, could add another $1-2!

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I agree competely, by the way. Nonetheless, I still think Julie's is a bit pricey given the quality (though some items have surprised me--in a good way). All of which exposes, I suppose, that I've gone back a few times. Maybe it isn't so horrible.

                      It reminds me a bit of when I worked in Embarcadero 3 and Lightening Foods opened. At first, it was fascinating, then the novelty wore off, at least for me. I think the quality at Julie's easily rivals that of Lightening, meaning (IMHO) that they're pretty much the top "by the weight" places in the Financial District. It remains to be seen whether they can convince me that it's worth the cost.

                      Then there's Tasty Express, the hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese buffet place on Kearney...that's another topic for another day...