Food Porn: Juniper

Juniper dining room.

***UPDATE: Since this article was written, Juniper has sadly closed their doors for good.

I’s sure many of you have driven by Juniper multiple times and not even noticed.  I myself was fairly unaware of the Elmwood Ave restaurant (about halfway between the “Elmwood strip” and Allentown) until my friend began working there a few months back.  After many nights of him coming home and bragging about the great food he was given by the chefs to try, I knew it was time to give it a whirl myself.  The menu, which changes constantly and can be checked out online, is full of a variety of chef Kate Elliott’s food designs.  It is obviously by looking at the menu, that she likes to showcase as many local products as possible.

Being a fine dining restaurant, the food comes with a fine dining price.  That being said, the atmosphere and design of the restaurant is both fancy and comforting at the same time, you easily could wear anything from a suit to jeans to and not feel out of place.  The night I decided to go, they debuted their new Pub Menu.  The Pub Menu consisted of about 8 items (which they rotate often as well) all under $15 in price.  I decided to eat at the bar and order from the Pub Menu so I could try a few different items.

The bar at Juniper.

After I sat down, I was pleasantly surprised to see they offered one of my favorite beers on tap, Hooegarden.  If you are a wheat beer fan it is a must, it has a spicy, warming and smooth taste (Don note: maybe one of my favorite beers to get on tap, the flavor are way more intense then in a bottle).  After chatting with the bartender and co-owner Lindsay Malinowski, I decided to go for the Focaccia of the night ($10) and the Steak Frittes ($11).  While I waited for my food and enjoyed my beer, Malinowski chatted about the struggles they initially had in opening the place, and also how they decided on everything from the decorations to the wine list.  The staff really made it a very comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Focaccia with gorgozolla, bacon and figs.

The focaccia of the night (above) was a mixture of gorgonzola cheese, figs,  and bacon.  It was much larger than I had anticipated when it came out (considering it’s relatively low price tag).  It easily could have sufficed as my entire meal.  The focaccia was absolutely delicious.  The saltiness of the bacon combined with the sweetness of the figs and the bite of the gorgonzola was perfectly matched.  It was one of the better “pizzas” I have ever had.  It tasted light and fresh but still was hearty and very filling, overall it was damn good.  I would highly recommend the focaccia to anyone venturing to Juniper, whether it be a meal at the bar, a light dinner or an appetizer to split among the table.

Steak frittes.

The second part of my dinner (much of which went home with me) was the steak frittes.  It basically was a really nicesteak sandwich,topped with marinated mushrooms and a balsamic, garlic aoili.  The steak sandwich was good, however I think I was still enamored with the focaccia because it didn’t really stick in my mind as something extraordinary.  What was very tasty however, was the homemade aoili that was used as the sauce.  The garlic was balanced with the balsamic and it made for an excellent sauce.  The steak was well cooked to a perfect medium rare and was fairly juicy.  It was a bit tougher cut of meat than I had hoped, yet the taste of the sandwich all together was nice.  After dinner the bartender talked me into a “liquid dessert” and he whipped up a great cocktail to end the meal with.

The first thing that comes to mind when mentioning Juniper is probably something along the lines of fancy, expensive or fine dinning.  Although the restaurant offers its fair share of gourmet meals, which are well received and tasty, it is a very underrated place to go for a snack, small meal and a drink.  I will definitely return to Juniper for the Pub Menu and some Hooegarden on tap, and I think Juniper is a perfect place to hang out and chat over a nice drink and a delicious and fairly reasonably priced snack.  So next time you are in the Elmwood area and can’t decide on a place to check out, stop in at Juniper and I’m sure they will make you feel as welcome as they did me.


Juniper on Urbanspoon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>