By Catherine Smart · 04/24/2019    Somerville · French · $$$

You know the saying you can’t be all things to all people? Well, the owners of this all-day café in Somerville are having none of it. Pick up a crisp-and-crumbly scone to go with your cold brew. Pop in for a weekday lunch. Attend an intimate ticketed tasting-menu dinner, with wine pairings poured by co-owner Katrina Jazayeri, who is happy to tell you exactly where she and partner (in both business and life) Joshua Lewin stumbled upon the bottle during their latest trip abroad.

Juliet might shine brightest at brunch. The neighborhood trickles into the sunny dining room to sit with the Sunday Globe or rehash the weekend’s events over cheery toasts and herb-filled French omelettes. Steel-cut oatmeal is bruléed. Runny yolks arrive in vintage egg cups. Pastries come in a basket. And yes, they serve mimosas.

The place runs on a French-feeling frugality; nothing is wasted, and a canvas of well-sourced ingredients are imbued with just enough luxury: On a recent night, the Scallops + Bacon was, in fact, mostly comprised of roasted pickled cauliflower with a dollop of homemade hollandaise. But that single, plump, perfectly seared scallop with a bite-sized serving of bacon felt like just rich enough for the first course of a French-Canadian-inspired tasting menu. The sneak-attack showstopper was the Slow-Roasted Dogpatch Farm Pork with lentils: brown, baked, and not Instagram food, it felt just right.

Lewin is an excitable mad-scientist type who happens to be a Marine Corps vet, which might explain the unlikely marriage of discipline and whimsy in his food. And Jazayeri—who would look at home on the cover of Vogue, even in the Carharrt beanie she’s donning as a nod to the night’s northern-themed tasting menu—is the consummate cool and calm choreographer of the dinner service dance. When she’s not breaking out the power tools to install a dining room bench, compiling the latest issue of the restaurant’s magazine Of Juliet, or crusading on behalf of workers’ rights (Juliet operates on a no-tipping, living wage, profit-sharing model), she and Lewin are plenty busy with their main gig: hosting their neighbors.

Eating at Juliet is like being invited to the home of your well-traveled friends, but instead of suffering through a slideshow of their vacation, they feed you well. On any occasion, that’s a real treat.

Arrive early for brunch. Juliet doesn’t take reservations (except for ticketed dinners), and the place fills up early.

On Sundays from 5 to 8 p.m., Juliet transforms into Romeo’s—a Sunday supper spot serving up homemade Italian favorites like Tagliatelle alla Vongole and Pappardelle with porchetta, roasted cauliflower, ricotta, and breadcrumbs. No reservations.

Juliet serves breakfast all day! There’s never a bad time for toast and jam or a perfect gruyère omelette.

Must Haves

  • Very few restaurants do it this well. So whatever version Juliet’s got on the menu—from saffron to duck—don’t miss it.

  • We love the whole grain trend as much as anyone, but the light, buttery, scones, muffins, and quick breads here are the classics done right.

  • Somerville’s savory answer to L.A.’s ricotta toast craze: A generous slab of Pullman toast topped with creamy, tangy Cloumage cheese from Shy Brothers Farm, sliced tomato, greens, and a soft-boiled egg to break on top. Don’t skip the side of potato salad with its serious Dijon bite.

  • Half a ruby red with a creme brûlée-style sugar topping. BRB—we’re off to buy a blowtorch because Juliet just ruined plain grapefruit forever.

Fun Fact

Jazayeri is also a talented seamstress. Order her handmade Post Oak aprons via Juliet’s website.

Tastes of Juliet

So good we can't stop writing about it. Read more about Juliet!

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