DC at Night

DC at Night

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dining in DC: Juniper

The whole wheat honey bread w/ honey butter is truly special
Washington, DC is filled with outgoing people, many of them passionate about their politically-related careers and quite capable of engaging in energetic talk about a wide range of topics. That means many DC restaurants that rate high on the food quality scale also offer conversational noise levels rivaling those at the loudest high school cafeterias.

But, if you are interested in quiet conversation along with a great meal, you should consider Juniper, the elegant restaurant at the Fairmount Hotel in the West End section of the city. Juniper caters to hotel guests and neighborhood locals, all of whom seemed to have mastered the art of tranquil dinner talk. In fact, almost every review mentions the quiet atmosphere. And while you may come for the quiet, the chances are good that you will come back for the food.

If Juniper has a most special item, it would have to be its whole wheat walnut honey bread with honey butter. Chef Ian Bens also serves as resident beekeeper and incorporates honey, bee pollen, and even the honey comb from the four restaurant rooftop hives into the bread and other innovative dishes.

On our most recent visit my wife and I chose classic soups as starters. Judy had the Maryland crab, while I opted for the night's special chicken tortilla. For entrees, we both had the Chesapeake Bay jumbo lump crab cakes. The 2 meaty crab cakes were accompanied by heirloom hominy succotash and a spicy remoulade. I augmented my dinner with a side of tasty chipotle spicy roasted broccolini. Judy ate only one of her crab cakes so she could enjoy the apple/blueberry crumble with homemade vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.for dessert.

A special 3-course prix fixe dinner is offered each night. Since the annual DC Cherry Blossom Festival was just winding down, cherries served as the theme for a meal consisting of cherry wood-smoked duck breast with local Spring greens drizzled in cherry blossom vinaigrette, sweet and sour cherry-glazed salmon, and a cherry blossom panna cotta with Amarena cherry ice cream.

Juniper also offers special dietary vegan, macrobiotic, heart healthy, diabetic, raw, and gluten-free meals created with seasonal ingredients from local farms in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

Tales, Tidbits,and Tips
What others say:
The Prices Do DC rating
  • **** (4 out of 5 plates with a special shush-out to the quiet)

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