BASQUE COUNTRYSIDE - TOLOSA - CASA JULIAN
This place is a un-remarkable, easy to miss little restaurant, in little known Tolosa, 28 km inland from San Sebastián.
Once you find it and walk in you will think you are in the wrong place, You will see an area containing several fridges and a load of crates and are likely to turn around and walk out again until you are greeted warmly and seated in the old fashioned dining room that doesn't look like it's changed much in a century.
The steaks are cooked to order here, in front of every diner.
Topped with a extremely large dose of coarse salt, which is then scraped off before serving (the steaks are not salty, it is just a secret to get the best out of the steak).
It takes about fifteen minutes to get the two inch thick slab of beef to just above rare, which is the only way you are allowed to have your steak at Casa Julian. This steak (the chuleton de buey for two) is the only thing on the menu (actually, there isn't a menu). Don’t think of asking for it to be well done, you may end up on the grill!
Besides that single main course, there are a choice of five appetizers:
Thin sliced Jamón Iberico de Bellota (top quality acorn fed ham) Thin sliced lomo iberico de Bellota (top quality acorn fed dry cured pork loin)
Or an half and half plate of these two meats
Grande espárragos blancos con vinagreta (large white asparagus with vinaigrette)
Pequeños corazones de una lechuga locales con aceite de oliva (small hearts of a local lettuce similar to Romaine but stronger, doused in exquisite olive oil)
You will also have asados pimientos del piquillo (roasted red piquillo peppers, flattened and arranged in a single layer in a ceramic dish that is roasted to order, brought to the table piping hot, and so delicious that the peppers would be the reason to come if not for the steak (the peppers are always served with the steak, not before).
The chuleton de buey (bone in rib steak) is trimmed and carved into two, and is as good a piece of meat as you will find anywhere else in Spain and is simply not to be missed, especially in this great atmosphere..
It’s like eating at the Medieval home of a friend who is also a top class grill master who has his own cattle farm .
There is an excellent, responably priced, wine list available with a few oldies to choose from.
Tolosa is a quaint little town with a river running through it, with a few other decent restaurants and makes a nice easy day trip from San Sebastián by car, train or taxi.
Most of the photos are © by Joby Catto. You can find him on twitter at
Calle de Santa Klara, 6, 20400 , Tolosa, Guipúzcoa
+34 943 67 14 17 www.casajuliandetolosa.com
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