At long last, we finally made it down to one of Joule’s Urban Barbecue days. Given how much we love Joule, it was just a matter of time.
Joule’s owner-chefs, Seif and Rachel, began this series last summer, where every Sunday they’re open from noon until 8 pm, with live music and a different food theme. Normally the food here is a fun riff on Korean cuisine with French influences, but the Urban BBQ gives them a chance to play with all sorts of different menus. Last week the theme was “New England Crab Boil,” which didn’t really appeal to us, but last night the theme was Tunisia. We made a special effort to be in town for this one.
The mood is casual, with a self-serve drinks counter, a limited menu and silverware in little beach pails on the tables. We stopped in shortly before five, and the place was packed full of happy Wallingford residents and soccer fans.
We started with an order of mechouia, which was described as a Tunisian caponata. The summery vegetable mixture was piled onto two thin crostini with a large green salad on the side. It made a great starter: fresh and bright tasting but very light.
Since the plates at Joule are fairly small, we ordered three more things: the leg of lamb, couscous with roasted cauliflower, and a turnover filled with ground beef and an egg, called a brik. The brik was really the star of the evening, being crispy on the outside and filled with soft, spiced beef that oozed chile-flavored juices, enhanced with barely-set egg yolk. I think I need to learn how to make it at home. Anyone have a recipe?
The lamb was nicely done, quite rare, and served with a small pile of preserved lemon chutney and some spiced yogurt.
The couscous and cauliflower was very good, and excellent with the lamb. It came with dukkah, which is usually a mixture of chopped hazelnuts, herbs and spices. Since I’m allergic to hazelnuts, the chefs very kindly made a fresh dukkah for me with sliced almonds instead.
The wines on the counter were mostly French and very food-friendly, and I appreciated being able to just take a small amount instead of committing to an entire glass. We had the perfect amount of food, too. Desserts looked interesting, especially the Sno-Cones, but we decided to get home to a quart of ripe strawberries that needed attention. Maybe we’ll just have to make it down to another Urban BBQ.