Julie’s Place

A Tallahassee institution for almost as long as I’ve been alive, Julie’s Place is well known as a spot for a nice meal in a relaxed setting. I’ve been there several times over the years, going back to a pre-prom dinner in the early 90s followed by banquets, meetings, and several dates. It’s been almost 20 years since that first visit and, unfortunately, the years haven’t been kind to this aging grand dame of the Tallahassee culinary landscape.

An early-evening mid-week dinner about a month ago showed a few flaws in the decor–fading carpets, stained ceiling tiles, a musty smell in the lobby and the like–but the curved banquettes are still a delightful throw-back to an earlier age. The menu is what you would expect from a steakhouse with a fair amount of variety to be had. Being in a comfort food mood we ordered the potato skins appetizer which was actually more potato than skin with just broiled cheese and chopped bacon on top–it really needed some salt at the very least (even the bacon was lackluster in the taste department).

The salads came and I was really impressed with the Citrus Lemon Cream dressing–so much so that I tried to find a reasonable facsimile for a recent party. Todd’s steak and my shrimp came out well-prepared though I must confess my continued peeve of restaurants that serve shrimp, especially those pre-sauced, tail on. It’s one thing as a passed appetizer in place of a toothpick but any place that provides a knife and fork really should forgo the tails. And, once again, almost everything on the plate needed salt. While spice is definitely a matter of personal preference, habitual under-salting is a sign of a careless chef (or that you’re dining in a hospital cafeteria).

My hope for this long-time establishment is that the management will be able to give Julie’s Place a bit of a face lift and, perhaps, a bit more flavor.