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Juliana's Kitchen, Wilmington, DE

Has anyone been? Anything to report?

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    1. re: bluehensfan

      It's a Peruvian restaurant that's taken over the location where the Dumpling House used to be -- on 11th St., I think.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Oh ok...I think I read someting about in in the News Journal.

    2. Havent been, but my friend lives right on 11th and said its very good. I plan on going soon.

      1 Reply
        1. Okay! So I tried it over the weekend. It has the same family-run feel of The Dumpling House, which I like (and no renovations to the decor) -- that felt very familiar. (The chef's husband even came by at the end of the meal to see how we things were; anyone who's been a regular at the DH knows how this was par for the course there.) The menu is pretty extensive and very reasonably priced. Lots of really unique-sounding dishes, however my big caveat is that my partner and I are vegetarians and didn't really get to partake of much on it. I assumed this might be the case heading in, but I wanted to give it a shot anyways. I think omnivores looking to try something new would find a lot of interesting dishes to choose from -- several reminded us of El Serrano in Lancaster, for those Chowhounders who venture out that way.

          We made a meal out of stuffed avocado salads and a number of sides (all good, but made for a pretty starchy meal on the whole) -- papas a la Huancaina (potatoes in a spicy cream sauce), yuca fritas served with some nice hot sauces, and a very simple but good dish off the children's menu (arroz a la cubana -- fried plantain and egg over rice). The chef's husband suggested a few things at the end of our meal that we could try next time -- all menu items sans meat (I'd rather see 2 or 3 'whole' entrees on the menu from which to choose, a la the Dumpling House. El Serrano has a 4 or 5-dish veg menu, so it's possible, right?).

          The highlight for us was definitely the dessert -- we shared a slice of the tres leches cake, which was to-die-for (I can definitely see ordering a sheetcake to take away someday soon) -- super moist and delicious -- and the alfajores (cookies filled with caramel), which were very rich. There were also a handful of interesting Peruvian drinks on the menu, which our waitress let us try samples of -- our favorite was the chica morada (made from purple corn). It is BYO and we weren't charged a corkage fee, so bring a bottle of wine that can stand up to some good spicy food.

          3 Replies
          1. re: spyturtle008

            Thanks, spyturtle! It sounds like it's definitely worth a visit. I'm totally unfamiliar with Peruvian food, so it'll be an adventure. I'm wondering what kind of wine to bring along; I wish they'd post their menu online. I usually bring an Alsatian Reisling when I'm having spicy Asian food, but I don't know if that'd pair well with Peruvian. Ahhhh... a question for my friends at Moore Bros.

            1. re: spyturtle008

              I am so glad that the food was good. The restaurant is so close to home that it will be a welcome new spot. No corkage fee either, gotta love that.

              1. re: spyturtle008

                Thanks for the review! Sounds like a very good place, and I love Peruvian.

              2. I too recently stopped to give them a shot. I certainly do hope they make it. I am no expert in Peruvian food but I'd say it leans toward old fashioned. They do say they serve traditional Peruvian cuisine. And like spyturtle008 found, the menu is heavy on the starches. Huge portions are served up here. Juliana heads up the kitchen and her husband (Edwin I think his name is) runs the front.

                The best dish was the old Peruvian staple Cerviche de Pescado ($11.99) - raw fresh fish (with a couple of scallops) marinated in lime juice and onions.

                Next up was the Causa a la Limena ($6.99). The menu says it is a stuffed yellow potato with chicken, avocado and peppers. What came was a type of mashed yellow potato "sandwich" in which, between two patties of the mashed yellow potatoes were cold shredded chicken in mayo with avocado slices and one hot pepper. Dollops of mayo were also placed on top. Just a bit too much mayo for my liking.

                Last dish tried was the Adobode Cerdo con Pure de Pallares ($9.99) - seasoned roasted pork served with (mashed) lima beans. And a huge scoop of rice. The pork was great and well seasoned. Mashed lima beans were OK. Only quibble here was that proportionally, there was much more rice and mashed lima beans to the pork.

                Also tried the Torta Tres Leches ($3.99) - Sponge cake soaked in three different milks. The Peruvian answer to Tiramisu. Also got to sample (for free) three small servings of these Peruvian drinks: Chicha Morada (Purple Corn), Cebada o Emoliente (Barley) and Maracuya (Passion Fruit.)

                Service was very attentive and friendly. Although they listed three entree specials, I'd like to see more vegetables. For example, the choice on side dishes are Rice, Fried French Fries, Fried Sweet Bananas and Fried Cassava.

                Juliana's Kitchen
                1828 W. 11th Street
                Wilmington, DE 19805
                Tel: 302-888-1828
                Fax: 302-888-1869

                Hours:
                Closed Mondays
                Tues-Thurs: 3 pm to 10 pm
                Fri: 3 pm to 11 pm
                Sat: 11 am to 11 pm
                Sun: 11 am to 9 pm

                2 Replies
                1. re: scoopG

                  This sounds really good. Did anyone posting here ever go to that Peruvian place on Kirkwwod Highway in Elsmere when it was open (I think it was Los Manos Latinos?). I am just trying to get an idea of how Juliana's compares because I was not enthralled by the Elsemere place...

                  1. re: bluehensfan

                    I went to Manos Latinos (only once) and thought the owner was super nice but some of the food was very salty. I will definitely try Juliana's but it will have to wait until I get back from a two-week trip!

                2. spyturtle & scoopG --

                  How would you describe the speed of service? We are hoping to eat there before a show at the Grand and are trying to get a feel for how much time we should give ourselves. If the show starts at 8 p.m., could we get away with, say, a 5:45 reservation, or should we aim for 5:30? This will be on a Saturday -- we aren't looking to linger for hours on end, but we also don't want to end up rushed and having to skip dessert (wives will mutiny).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: c.w.

                    Hmmm good question. I always err on the side of earlier just to be safe. My guess is that it would be entirely dependent on how busy they are. There were two servers for just the small dining room on the main floor when I was there; I'm not sure how they'd handle the upstairs space if that had started to fill. I'm guessing a Saturday would be one of their busier nights. I'd also guess they'd be accommodating if you mentioned your plans when you were seated. (And good for you for thinking ahead as you do NOT want to miss the desserts!!)

                    1. re: spyturtle008

                      I was there on a Saturday night and they were not busy. Actually made a reservation which was not needed at all as we were the only diners at 7:30 pm. Two other couples arrived within 10-15 minutes but no one was upstairs. I would think 5:45 would give you plenty of time. Also if you tell them you have to leave by (insert time here) I am sure they will not let you down. Desserts are pre-made so I do not think that will be a problem. Have fun and please report back!

                  2. I've been twice in the past week and the food is terrific. Having visited Peru back in May I was very excited to hear a Peruvian restaurant opened a few blocks from my home. The food at Juliana's is authentic and the place has a great atmosphere. It is BYOB so it turns out to be a great value as well. Highly recommend trying it.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mrosco33

                      I tried Juliana's and found it to be decent overall. It reminds me of the type of food we ate in Costa Rica...simply prepared food that was good for the most part but nothing all that memorable. For comparison purposes it was better than Manos Latinas though...

                      The ceviche was pretty good as was the pork dish with the lima beans but my favorite was the Causa a la Limena and the Tres Leches cake. The other mixed seafood dish we tried was fair as were a few of the other dishes.

                      The server (who seems to be the owner's daughter?) was very nice and helpful, and the owner was very friendly and stopped by to ask about our meal at the end.

                        1. re: scoopG

                          I would stick with the ceviche, causa a la limena, and tres leches. Avoid the adobo cerdo (esentially a flattened out very thin steak with an egg on top of it, a hot dog (!?!), plantains (which were good) and french fries (which were not so much). The mixed seafood in red sauce was just ok (I forgot the name of it. The pork stew dish people are referring to is a few chunks of pork that were pretty good, some delicious (IMO) but very buttery whipped up lima beans, and a lot of rice. Oh, and those caramel filled cookies are pretty good too. Like I said before everything was decent, especially for Wilmington, but I have been fortunate enough to have really good Peruvian cuisine in other parts of the country for comparison purposes.

                      1. So we made it out to Juliana's Kitchen on Saturday evening before seeing the always excellent Brandi Carlile over at the Grand Opera House. Thanks again to spyturtle and scoopG for their input as to timing -- as it turned out, we dawdled over our meal long enough to miss the the first 15 minutes of the opening act, but that's our fault, not the restaurant's!.

                        Short review of dinner: Good food, good service, good prices. We will definitely go back.

                        Longer version:

                        Drinks: We brought a couple of bottles of wine, but our dining companions also tried two of the Peruvian drinks, the one made from purple corn and the other made from barley. I think that the table as a whole preferred the barley drink, although nobody disliked the purple corn one.

                        Appetizers: The four of us shared the ceviche mixto, the potatoes in spicy cream sauce, fried banana pieces, and ginormous bowls of a beef soup and a soup/stew with shrimp and rice. Other than the citrus in the ceviche being slightly out of balance (a little tangier than optimal, IMO -- perhaps just a small hint of sugar would help), everyone enjoyed the appetizers. Seriously, the bowls of soup are amazingly large, really entree-sized (and admittedly, they are separately listed on the menu from appetizers).

                        Entrees: The adobo cerdo (seasoned pork) dish, flat steak with fried banana and a hot dog, a fish filet in a cream sauce (sorry, I'm doing this from memory, did not write things down), and one of the menu specials, a tripe stew. I generally agree with scoopG's comments about the adobo credo -- although the table liked the mashed lima beans, the amount of mashed lima beans and rice in proportion overwhelmed the pork. The menu said it was a "pork stew" but that's not really accurate -- it's a very nice chunk of very tender pork in a great sauce, but not really a stew. The pork was delicious and I really liked the sauce (will ask for an extra spoonful or two next time!). My wife said her steak dish was overall good but a little underseasoned -- and the hot dog/sausage that came with the entree seemed out of place, but admittedly none of us remember what the menu said about it. The tripe stew special was good if you like tripe -- flavor and texture were both good. And the the person who ordered the fish said it was also good -- I did not manage to get to try that one.

                        Dessert: After a nice visit from the chef (apparently we had been "spotted" on Chowhound...), we shared a rice pudding (good), tres leches cake (very good), caramel cookie (very good), and the custard/pudding (great, very very rich).

                        The service was attentive but not obtrusive, just the right combination.

                        Anyway, thumbs up. Thanks to everyone here for bringing Juliana's Kitchen to our attention!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: c.w.

                          Thanks for the update. I almost died when I saw you were 15 minutes late for the show... but relieved when I saw you arrived at JK with TWO more guests and TWO bottles of wine! Now that's a show-stopper!

                          1. We finally made it to Juliana's this past week, one day before moving out of the neighborhood. I really liked it. As it turned out, Mr. travelmad478 and I were both in the mood for soup, so he got the beef noodle (Criolla) and I had the seafood soup. We also had the stuffed avocado and a plate of papas huancaina. Both the soups were declicious--I would say that the beef noodle one was a little better, but that's just because I am not wild about soups with a tomato base, which the seafood one was. Still, the seafood soup was very good and they certainly do not skimp on the ingredients! There were huge quantities of shrimp, mussels, squid, etc.--both soups were definitely meal-sized. I thought the stuffed avocado was nice enough, but not really what I expected--an avocado stuffed with what I would call Russian salad (and what Russians would call stolichniy salat), which is potatoes, peas, and carrots in a mayonnaise dressing. I'll pick something else next time. The potatoes were very good, just like I have had in Peru.

                            We will try to get back here, as it is definitely worth supporting, and also because I want to try the desserts. We were seated right next to the dessert case, and I had great plans to eat some rice pudding, but then I ended up eating so much dinner that I didn't have room! Tres leches cake is also a big draw--I've made this myself and gotten giant raves for it from guests. I'd love to try a professional's version!

                            1. We went to Juliana's Kitchen this weekend after noticing it on the board here, and we really liked it. The prices are low, and the service is outstanding. (The decor was nicer than I would have expected for the prices.) The chef was very careful with our gluten intolerance, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. My bone-in pork chop was succulent and tender; my husband's seafood rice was similarly delicious.

                              I hope this place makes it. It's really solid. But that location is tough...