Cuisine: Tapas/Small Plates
Menu: View the Menu
I admit that The Juniper Suite sounds like a five-star room in a four-star hotel, and not a place to eat in. And, truth be told, The Juniper Suite does have something of an identity crisis. Itís part upscale restaurant, and part bar/lounge, complete with an upstairs room that can be rented for private parties. Thereís a lunch menu, a dinner menu, and a pre-theater prix fixe ($30). And it stays open until 2am, except on Sundays, when the restaurant is completely closed.Review By: Brian Scott Lipton
Itís all a little confusing Ė a word that applies equally to chef Micah Perfitís menu, which spans a wide range of cuisines and culinary influences with varying degrees of success. But choose wisely and you can have a marvelous meal. Otherwise, you may be in for a night of overpriced mediocrity Ė albeit in very pretty surroundings.
No matter what, your spirits will lift the minute you sip one of mixologist Jerri Banksí clever cocktails. The restaurantís namesake, the Juniperotivo, is a beguiling mix of Juniperotivo Gin, lime juice, pomegranate juice, molasses and mint. Even teetotalers are treated with special care here, with options ranging from a fresh and refreshing lemon-lime spritzer to the C-Minor, made with strawberry hibiscus tea, lime juice and rose syrup.
As is the custom in so many new eateries, the menu is divided into shareable small plates and more traditional entrees. The former category yielded two very different winners: a cone of pencil-point asparagus fried in lighter-than-lighter tempura batter, served alongside two small dishes of hollandaise sauce. It was completely addictive -- and remarkably healthy. The same canít be said for the melt-in-your-mouth chipotle-braised short rib, accompanied by tender cippolini onions and topped with a tangle of shoestring potatoes.
As for the main plates, I canít vouch how Perfitís miso-glazed black cod compares to the one at Nobu everyone talks about, but I will say the fish was very flaky and moist and gained just enough flavor from a glaze of homemade ponzu sauce. It was perched atop a bed of gingered baby spinach, which itself formed a crown for a mound of supremely fluffy rice. My dining companion (with a little help from me) ate every single bite.
Since I rarely see wild boar chops on a menu, I had to give these a go. Unfortunately, even though they were enlivened by a Thai BBQ sauce, the chops were a bit tough and fairly tasteless. I did enjoy the gremolata couscous they shared the plate with, if not the badly overcooked plantains. Perhaps I should have followed our kind waiterís suggestion and tried the grilled filet mignon or the rack of spring lamb instead. (He immediately told us to try the cod). And perhaps on my next visit, Perfit will have reconsidered this dish. For diners and restaurants should both live and learn.
Neighborhood: West 50s
Entree Price: $20-25
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