Peak pastry

Julian’s Pâtisserie & Café

The cookie butter cheesecake at Julian’s Pâtisserie & Café.

The cookie butter cheesecake at Julian’s Pâtisserie & Café.

photo by stephanie stiavetti

Good for: A pastry fix or quick, hearty lunch
French patisserie, Folsom

Julian’s Pâtisserie & Café

6610 Folsom-Auburn Rd.
Folsom, CA 95630
# 7

(916) 936-4735

Folsom isn’t necessarily known for fancy-pants desserts or competition-level pastry chefs, so when Julian’s Pâtisserie & Café opened in the Folsom Pavilions in January, it filled a niche that residents perhaps didn’t realize existed. Now locals flock to the shop to press their noses against the glass display, making puppy-dog eyes at the assorted fresh pastries and enjoying the decor, which blends Parisian accents with a French farmhouse sensibility.

Chef-owner Julian Perrigo-Jimenez built his pastry career in top Las Vegas restaurants and enjoyed a stint on the Food Network’s competition show Cake Wars. Given his baking background, the menu at Julian’s is decidedly breakfast- and lunch-centric, with a generous selection of pastries, quiches, filled croissants, croques (madame ou monsieur) and sweet and savory crepes. Vegetarians will enjoy several options, including the caprese crepe and a seasonal veggie quiche. As a testament to their veg offering, the tomato-feta quiche is one of the most flavorful things I’ve eaten all month.

While the baked goods lean French, many of Julian’s savory dishes are rooted in American flavors. The California club crepe is packed with cheese, bacon, avocado and shredded chicken, steaming hot and full of stretchy, cheesy strands. The turkey pesto crepe is filled with an assertive pesto, while the croque madame was well-sauced without going overboard. The feuillette—a pocket of meat and cheese wrapped in flaky pastry—was tasty, though a little greasier than necessary.

The pastries are spot on, minus the oddly shaped butter croissants. The cheese Danish has become so popular that an elderly lady behind me complained when I ordered the last one. (Yes, I let her have it.) The fresh cinnamon rolls have a light, flaky texture with a generous amount of icing on top.

Once you make it past the breakfast pastries and savory menu, you’ll see what Julian’s is most famous for: his rotating cast of desserts. A small display case contains fancy sweets that look like they just stepped out of a pastry competition. On any given day you may find a lemon tart with toasted meringue, a raspberry-vanilla mousse with white-chocolate glaze and a glistening caramel butter cookie cheesecake.

The service here is quick and friendly, and the one time I received a subpar dish (a crepe that was still cold in the middle, mentioned offhandedly when the staff asked me how it was) the item was whisked away without hesitation and genuine apologies were issued. A new searing-hot crepe arrived at the hand of a smiling cook, who thanked me for the feedback and said she was happy to rectify the mistake.

And therein lies the true charm of Julian’s. Sure, the desserts are dazzling, the crepes are unpretentiously delicious and the pastries are homey-yet-elegant, but what makes this place truly special is the staff. Always welcoming, the people here make every customer feel appreciated, right down to Julian himself, who is perpetually beaming and greeting guests like old friends. The food alone is worth the trip, but the vibe seals the deal.