Julia's Bistro serves high-end Latin American cuisine with a focus on quality food and service. The restaurant's sophisticated atmosphere and location off the METRORail's McGowen stop make it an easily accessible place to splurge on an evening of fine dining.
Julia's is one of those places that we always pass and think, "Oh, that looks good, we have to try it sometime." We finally made the short trip to Midtown to try out this restaurant on the corner of Main and West Alabama streets.
Behind the chic black-and-white exterior is a Latin American restaurant that touts quality, high-end cuisine. The tablecloths and glassware differentiate Julia's from its Breakfast Klub and Tacos a Gogo neighbors. With a business casual dress code, it is no surprise the meals range from $15 to $30, but the food is well worth the price. The wait staff was very friendly, although the food did take a while to reach our table.
The first dish we ordered was the pollo poblano, Julia's version of a chicken roulade, a bacon-wrapped chicken stuffed with portabella mushrooms and panela cheese and topped with a poblano pepper sauce. We choose chipotle mashed potatoes and sauteed green beans for our side dishes. We ordered the pollo poblano on the assumption that trendy restaurants often innovate on simple ingredients to create sophisticated yet unpalatable dishes. However, the plate dispelled any fears of leaving the restaurant still hungry. The light flavors of the chicken and cheese complemented the robust flavor of the portabella mushrooms. All of this was wrapped tightly in crispy bacon strips which went well with the creamy and tangy poblano pepper sauce.
The mashed potatoes were creamy and had a bite of spice, thanks to the little bits of pepper dispersed throughout. The potatoes struck a perfect balance between too rich and not rich enough and provided a smooth texture opposite the crunch of the bacon. The grilled green beans introduced a smoky flavored element to the dish which paired perfectly with the rich potatoes.
The sides of green beans and mashed potatoes were on par with the main dish. The second dish was the filet de cerdo: churassco cut pork tenderloin topped with red chimichurri sauce, which we substituted for the pineapple-chile pequin chutney. The warm, spiced chutney with chunks of pineapple added a touch of sweet to the bland pork. We were impressed with the portion of pork we were served and how accommodating the cook was in altering the dish.
Dinner at Julia's was definitely a success and the food was worth donning a dress and spending a little extra cash.
Houston Hideaways is a column written by Sasha Schoch and Allie Schaich that explores Houston restaurants beyond the usual Rice student haunts.