As if planning a wedding was not enough, owners Just West and fiancee Emma Gudeman recently opened Julienne (138 E. Canon Perdido Street, 845-6488, restaurantjulienne.com) weeks before their upcoming October nuptials. Julienne takes the spot of Le Bon Cafe on the corner of Santa Barbara and Canon Perdido streets. West and Gudeman’s dream to open this “progressive American” bistro came true when the space fell out of escrow at the last minute following Le Bon’s close. Gudeman is quick to describe progressive American dining and ingredients, claiming, “The Farmers Market is our grocery store. All ingredients are as local and sustainable as possible.” In combination with this philosophy of sourcing ingredients to bring into the kitchen, techniques are classic European. She explained, “[Head chef] Justin is back there hand-turning ice cream, hand-turning sorbets.” The menu is unique yet comfortable and includes five-spice duck breast ($21), panko crusted trout ($22), oxtail ravioli ($18), and steak with garlic-herb pommes frites ($27). Appetizers such as the grilled queso fresco flatbread ($13) and sweet corn-saffron chowder ($8) are equally intriguing. Order a tasting menu paired with wine and choose from three, five, or seven courses. The dining room has authentic warmth with its open kitchen and colorful spice-filled jars. Gudeman’s uncle, from whom she borrowed a painting that she grew up with to display, does all of the artwork, which adds to the restaurant’s homey feel.
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