Julie of all trades

Posted by Anita on 08.10.06 1:12 PM

julie's ktichen (c)2006 AECI hate my lunchtime choices. I have the option of pricey chow at the Ferry Building, a long hike to decent places like The Toaster Oven or Cafe Madeleine, or an endless variey of cheerless crap right at my doorstep.

Across the street at 50 Fremont, for example, you’ll find these ‘appetizing’ choices: San Francisco Soup Company, Subway, Baja Fresh, and the new girl on the block, Julie’s Kitchen… located in a space that used to be a Mickey D’s.

As I stood on the corner at Market Street, I remembered a couple of co-workers telling me that Julie’s was a decent place to go when you couldn’t decide what to eat. It’s a pay-by-the-pound ($7.50 per, that is) “gourmet” buffet joint, with a focus on salady stuff and Asian-American food.

The options look pretty good as you walk in, but on closer inspection the various tables feature multiples of the same dish. I passed no fewer than three bowls filled with shrimp-avocado salad along my winding path, and that was far from the only duplication I noticed. Not many takers for that squicky-looking marinated tofu, I guess…

Limited options aren’t necessarily a bad thing, so long as what’s on offer is good. Unfortunately, by trying to be all things to all appetites, Julie’s manages to satisfy none. Make-your-own-salad options are weak, premade salads are overdressed and marred by odd flavor combos, and the Chinese items I tried — including an especially disgusting eggroll — were outright bad. High points included a subtle Japanese-style seaweed/noodle salad, hard-boiled egg halves, and freshly carved roast turkey. And I guess that the pre-tossed Caesar salad wasn’t terrible. But when I pay $8+ for a small box of food, it needs to be much, much better than passable.

Julie’s Kitchen
50 Fremont Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

downtown SF, lunch
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