Julian (resto-bar review)  

Jerusalem Post, Weekend Magazine; October 3, 2007

It’s easy to miss Julian when passing by one of the main streets in Rosh Pina. It’s located on the second floor of a basalt building that served as the customs station between the British and the Ottomans at the start of the century. But for those looking for a sophisticated and romantic nightlife dining experience in northern Israel, it’s recommended that they don’t miss Julian.

Rosh Pina is replete with many upscale cafes and restaurants, but few elegant few resto-bars conducive to intimate dining and subtle pick-up for a larger 25+ crowd.

Since opening six months ago, Julian fits that void. The dark interior was designing by award winning designer, Michael Azulay, with a rectangular bar made from Spanish wood filling the length of the club and black tables adorned with candles and wineglasses. The stone walls add that historic, charming Rosh Pina touch. Groovy ambient and electronic jazz in the background add to the sexy, relaxed vibe. The place exudes Tel Aviv celebrity style, but the clientele is very eclectic, with young couples, families and groups.

Julian was started by Iro Monitz, originally from Katzrin in the Golan Heights, and who juggles his ownership of Julian with his studies as a law student in Holon. He named the place after the last officer to man the Ottoman- British crossing, but Julian the resto-bar is clearly up to date with the twenty first century.

The compact French-Asian fused menu was conceived by Yuval Heruti. Seafood is well represented since that’s Monitz’s personal favorite. The wine list is limited to fine wines, but I recommend their berry fruit champagne cocktail, the fruit is fresh and the flavor delightful.

Their flagship appetizer is the shrimp in coconut milk, shitake mushrooms, and coriander (NIS 37). Somewhat pricey for a dish consisting of six shrimps served with a sushi roll, but it hits the spot as a sensual, rich, slightly spicy seafood starter. The homemade rolls are mouthwatering, more like biscuits, served with olive spread, and they serve to neutralize the heavy flavor of the shrimp sauce.

The veal in beef stock served with au-gratin potatoes a grilled zucchini and mushroom was very good, although my cut was a little over-cooked. That’s my fault for ordering it medium-well. A rarer cut would have preserved the natural quality flavor of the meat.

For dessert I took the tapioca with fruit and coconut (NIS 27). It’s more like a cold, sweet, fruit soup with tapioca balls as the croutons and chunks of fresh fruit- mangos, plums, peaches, and pears (pears are Rosh Pina’s specialty). The meal could not have ended any more perfectly.

Old Rosh Pina-Kiryat Shmona Highway, across form police station; Sushi night: every Wednesday; DJs on weekends. Open from 7p.m.; (04)-690-0207

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