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Juliano's Raw (review)

pleasurepalate Jun 10, 2007 10:34 PM

My second foray into trying out Raw Cuisine was at Juliano's Raw and I have to say that while the restaurant setting was pretty, the food was just not that impressive to me.

I think the only thing I really liked was their chocolate milkshake that consisted of sapote / cherimoya carob w/ cocoa, fresh Vanilla bean, honey & macadamia milk. It was thick, creamy and yummy. The one thing was annoying though was when I asked for a straw, I got a somewhat snide remark from the waitress saying that they prefer that we use spoons since the paper from the straw is so wasteful. Please. A shake and a spoon just did not work for me, so I got the straw anyway.

Instead of getting an entree, I settled for two appetizers, a "sushi plate" and dessert. My first appetizer was the zucchini fries. I ordered it because I wanted to see if they can get that "crisp" factor usually associated with fries. They didn't. The zucchini was cut in short strips and were dehydrated. They were more chewy than crispy. It's just not the same. Now batter-coated and deep-fried zucchini fries would have been more my preference but we are eating in a "raw" restaurant after all.

The appetizer I had was their spring rolls. Unfortunately, I don't remember what the ingredients were. I just remembered that I didn't like the dish that much. It was too hard to bite the spring roll without the somewhat squishy filling coming out of the wrapper. Quite a messy dish.

My sushi was called "Mighty Aphrodite" and it had pumpkin and other fillings. I apologize for my vagueness the ingredients on some of these items. Usually, I'll take pictures of the menu and/or write down what I ordered, so that I can better review what I'm eating, but it wasn't possible that time.

Anyway, the "sushi rolls" I ordered came in a bowl, which I thought was odd and with it was a red cabbage salad and also some other veggies (broccoli and greens) which I think were dehydrated. Weird. Why would they do that?

For dessert, I had their chocolate parfait which was kind of like a pudding, but I found this dessert a little bitter and not as sweet as I would have liked.

Overall, Juliano's Raw was quite the disappointment and I don't plan on returning anytime soon.

Juliano's Raw
609 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 587-1552

Thanks,
Abby

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  1. katkoupai RE: pleasurepalate Jun 10, 2007 10:39 PM

    I went through a raw food phase that lasted about a week. This seems like an interesting place. From your review, it sounds like they need to improve their food to keep customers coming back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: katkoupai
      m
      miffy RE: katkoupai Jun 12, 2007 09:32 PM

      oh and they need to work on the customer service- you would be treated as if you are not welcome to the place- but if you complain you have to worry about the quality of the food served

    2. z
      zoomchic RE: pleasurepalate Jun 10, 2007 11:14 PM

      I used to go when they first opened and their prices were 200% less. They don't serve 200% more food so I don't get the huge mark up. They only things I liked were the "pasta" dishes "cheese" dishes. The rawvioli and other pasta specials were pretty tasty. My husband used to get the "alien blood" juice drink.
      There is a another raw place in Silver Lake that is pretty good too and much less $$ although the name escapes me.
      If I remember correctly, Julianos is an Idine restaurant.

      1. omotosando RE: pleasurepalate Jun 10, 2007 11:15 PM

        How was the service? I went twice awhile back and it was the worst service I have ever experienced in any restaurant ever (I guess you could say I was a glutton for punishment for subjecting myself to it twice).

        4 Replies
        1. re: omotosando
          z
          zoomchic RE: omotosando Jun 10, 2007 11:25 PM

          I think holier-than-thou could some it up.

          1. re: zoomchic
            omotosando RE: zoomchic Jun 10, 2007 11:29 PM

            When I went, the waitresses were very pretty, but zombie like and brain dead. I assumed they had been hired for their looks.

            1. re: omotosando
              pleasurepalate RE: omotosando Jun 11, 2007 11:25 PM

              I had actually made reservations, but when I arrived, the hostess and one of the waitress looked at me as if I had two heads when I mentioned my reservation for 12. They ended up scrambling to put tables together for us outside, so I guess it worked out. As for the service, I'd say it was okay. I've definitely had better, but I wouldn't say that it was a total wash.

              1. re: omotosando
                p
                penjen RE: omotosando Jun 20, 2007 09:26 PM

                I had the exact same experience, I thought maybe it's because they're not getting enough protein! The food quality is very inconsisent -- one day it's great, the next day it's really awful and management doesn't seem to care. It's a real pity because when their food is good it's really good. Only once have I had a waitress who seemed to really know what she was doing -- the rest of them seemed almost surprised that I actually wanted to order something to go. Often they don't seem to have change when I try to pay with cash. I think they need to train their staff better. My last visit there was actually painful!

          2. Bon Vivant RE: pleasurepalate Jun 12, 2007 06:45 PM

            Your bit about the straw reminds me of a story I read about Juliano's in Gourmet: a woman had ordered the "tacos" and asked for some additional guacamole. The waitress instead being tactful as to why she wasn't going to, replied, "maybe you should learn to eat less."

            http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bon Vivant
              pleasurepalate RE: Bon Vivant Jun 12, 2007 08:16 PM

              After my incident with the straw, I can really envision happening. That's a definite lack of customer service in my book.

              1. re: pleasurepalate
                s
                silence9 RE: pleasurepalate Jun 13, 2007 08:29 AM

                That's an interesting bit of irony, regarding the straw incident. One day, my wife was walking past their patio, when an employee inside the patio lobbed some stubbed cigarette butts - like nicotene grenades - out onto the sidewalk (and onto my wife). When my wife gave them 'what-for', they could've cared less. So much for their environmental showboating...

            2. r
              running pig RE: pleasurepalate Jun 13, 2007 04:52 AM

              I would rather return to SLJ than Juliano's. My friend and I went there when she was visiting from out of town, and it turned into one of those WAY embarassing moments...I chose the place, hoping for something unusual and fun. $75 later, we were still hungry and had been insulted/ignored about a dozen times.

              Imagine this...I wanted to pay for the meal, as it was my friend's birthday. Our server returned with my credit card, stating that it was not being accepted. I went to far as to call the credit card company, who told me that there was absolutely nothing barring me from using the Credit Card. The manager (Juliano?) came out and told me they just could not accept the card. They would NEVER admit that there was a problem with their credit card machine. It was hilarious, because 20 minutes later, I used the same card to pay for pastries at Jin's (since we were still hungry). Point is, my friend had to pay for lunch and I was irritated as all get out. If there is a problem with your credit card machine, just admit rather than humiliating your guest!

              By the way- my friend and I are both vegetarians and we thought the food was "OK" at best.

              1 Reply
              1. re: running pig
                omotosando RE: running pig Jun 13, 2007 07:38 PM

                They seem to have credit card problems at this restaurant. When I went, the waitress claimed she had returned my credit card, which she had not. I insisted she look for it and it was returned after about 30 minutes, with no apology.

              2. f
                FoodForFuel RE: pleasurepalate Oct 2, 2007 04:29 PM

                To speak frankly I do not know what all of you are talking about. From the second you walk into the door you feel the positive energy and true living food enthrall your body. The decor is overflowing with orchids, sunflowers, tapestries, and super eco-class. I have never seen a greater amount of beautiful people working in one restaurant in my life (I Guess that's what Raw food does). You have the option of eating inside, out front, or on the beautiful enclosed back patio. I have eaten a whole lot of food in my day and I have to say for being 100% Raw I was super impressed. From the array of choices, exquisite presentation, and great personality, I would definitely rate this place a big fat A!

                5 Replies
                1. re: FoodForFuel
                  d
                  Diana RE: FoodForFuel Oct 3, 2007 07:45 AM

                  Are you a specific Raw Food a tarian? the name is kind of a hint. Juliano's has often had bad reviews on and off this board. I found the attitude to be condescending, the service slow, the effort to help me find non-nut raw food dismal ("well, you just can't aspire to raw, then," I was told. I aspire to never go back) and the prices for what I WAS able to eat astronomical.

                  1. re: FoodForFuel
                    s
                    silence9 RE: FoodForFuel Oct 3, 2007 09:57 AM

                    " I have never seen a greater amount of beautiful people working in one restaurant in my life (I Guess that's what Raw food does)." Presuming you are referring to exterior beauty, it might be more realistic to posit that it is the person doing the hiring at that establishment as being responsible for choosing attractive humans as prospective employees (a common ploy in most any business). By your logic, the dedicated and diligent practice of performing and filming intercourse results in the preponderance of all the attractive people on the set of a porn film... Unless a wedge of lettuce is doing the hiring at Juliano's Raw, let's give the credit for the alleged 'beautiful people' working there to the personnel department's hiring standards. How about you tell us what you actually enjoy eating there (seeing as how your above posting was the only time you've ever posted on Chowhound, according to your posting history)?

                    1. re: FoodForFuel
                      j
                      Jerome RE: FoodForFuel Oct 3, 2007 10:11 AM

                      I'm sorry - do you really think they ask prospective employees their eating haits? pretty people eat all kinds of things. Orchids don't grow locally - so there's you carbon footprint growing.

                      The food is mediocre. beautiful people who don't know how to serve and yet work in restaurants are quite common in the 310.

                      That said, I'm glad you enjoy the place and hope that others who share your sensibilities regarding food and service continue to enjoy Juliano's.

                      1. re: Jerome
                        d
                        Diana RE: Jerome Oct 4, 2007 08:29 AM

                        I wonder...I imagine a lot of people who apply to work there do so not just because they want the job but because they have an interest in the Raw food trend. Look at the staff of Follow Your Heart or any health food store or market. They tend to all sort of fit in...

                        1. re: Diana
                          mollyomormon RE: Diana Oct 4, 2007 09:26 AM

                          I've known people that work there and they definitely don't just eat raw.

                    2. a
                      applebob RE: pleasurepalate Feb 11, 2008 08:42 PM

                      My wife and I went to Juliano's Raw tonight. I have been curious about the place for a while and, being on a diet, was in the mood for some punishment food. No punishment at all. My wife and I read this book analyzing longevity studies (not some hippie-dippie health book but a very boring academic work) and it basically said, eating a very reduced calorie diet of raw fruits, nuts, and veggies is the way to go. Obviously we love us some surf and turf, bacon, cheeseburgers and sushi so that's not gonna happen for us, but, having read the book, we were eager to find something on the menu we could tolerate every now and again. We tried a total of 11 different items on the menu (they have some samplers). All of the dishes had a name that references normal food such as a bacon double burger or pesto pizza, but none of the dishes remotely resembled the traditional form of the food. Just as well. They were all better than just tolerable. A couple were just ok but 9 out of 11 were between good and amazing. Despite the scariness of the menu, you can't really get into too much trouble. It's all tasty. The reviews on Chowhound are not so positive and I think that's because many expect the raw versions to imitate the traditional versions. Go and give it a try. You won't want to eat there every day, but it's worth working into regular rotation.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: applebob
                        s
                        silence9 RE: applebob Feb 17, 2008 06:44 AM

                        Hi, and thanks for the review... In this particular thread, the negative reviews are overwhelmingly service-based, not product-based. Being given the stink eye when asking for a straw (because the server wants to reduce the amount of straw wrapper residue) is akin to Sheryl Crow's attempt at shaming the universe into literally using one square of toilet paper per restroom usage. And the post above (where, when the patron asked for extra guacamole, and the waitress suggests that the patron should "eat less" ) is beyond boorish behavior. Any server possessing the poor judgement to tell me "maybe you should eat less", will henceforth have a difficult time retrieving their teeth from the ground with broken fingers ;-)

                        1. re: applebob
                          Das Ubergeek RE: applebob Feb 17, 2008 09:41 AM

                          The one time I made a reservation there, they "lost" it, told us it would be an hour and a half wait for a table, and then intimated that it would be better if we didn't wait actually on the property because they needed to get by. We went to JiRaffe instead, with no reservations, and were seated in 20 minutes.

                          It could be bloody ambrosia and nectar brought from Mount Olympus itself and I wouldn't subject myself to that rudeness again... and reading this thread, it seems like I missed out on a lot of sanctimonious froufa"raw".

                          The next time it crossed my radar was as I was walking to the beach from my home, and noticed that it had a health rating so low it had to be a number, not a letter. (Now, that was several years ago, and lapublichealth.com/rating tells me they've cleaned up their act, but it sticks in my mind.)

                          Just being the best food doesn't mean you'll have a successful restaurant -- and as the raw-food movement passes out of the "moment" amongst all but the hardcore, I feel sure Juliano's Raw will fail as well.

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