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Sep 11, 2013 11:34 AM

[Lunch at Juni] one of the greatest deals in town

After I had a fabulous dinner at Juni on day 1, I have revisited Juni three times for lunch. That's because Juni offers a three-course lunch menu for $35 (or two-course for $30) composed of an appetizer, main dish, and dessert of your choice.

They are not like easily-made 'cheap' dishes with minimum labour put into them, often found on the menu at many restaurants during the restaurant week (i.e., salad for app, chicken or flank steak for entree). Every dish I have had for lunch at Juni so far was seriously crafted and very good. Sophisticated and well balanced. The kitchen's execution of fish dishes in particular is out of this world. Mina's desserts are awesome too. IMHO, they are more refined than SHO.

To make things even better, Juni keeps adding one new dish to each category of app, main dish, and dessert once a week. That's why I have been returning every week.

If you haven't tried it yet, you are missing one of the greatest deals in the city.

FYI, this week's lunch menu:

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  1. Sounds great. I might check out next week during lunch hours.

    Do you dine alone? if so, do you sit at a table or a bar? How long was the lunch?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Monica

      I will surely be there next week too, since they will have new dishes by then. lol

      Although I don't mind sitting at the bar, I prefer the tables. That's why I go more frequently to restaurants that offer a table to a single diner like myself. Juni is one of them.

      Being a three course lunch, it takes less than an hour. :)

      1. re: kosmose7

        Thank you. I am surprised that they don't have a wine menu on their website. I'd probably get a glass of white with it. =)
        sighh...i wish my coworkers were more adventurous about food too....

        1. re: Monica

          My pleasure!

          >i wish my coworkers were more adventurous about food too
          Tell me about it, lol
          I have many friends who are willing to spend a fortune on other things but not on food. lol

    2. Juni is too far away from my office to try for lunch, but I am excited about trying Juni for dinner next week.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ellenost

        Oh, I heard today (over lunch) that they will add new dishes as well to the dinner menu next Monday. You will be able to try them too. :)

      2. Have you tried the 10 course dinner yet? I really liked SHO.

        9 Replies
        1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

          Not yet. I ordered a la carte because they looked better for me. :)

          1. re: kosmose7

            I think I'll try the 6 course menu, but I'm having a tough time narrowing down my selections :-).

            1. re: ellenost

              I went for dinner recently and two of us got the 6-course tasting. We skipped the tomato appetizer and the kale soup and had every other savory course with two deserts.

              For me the highlights were the peekytoe crab, ravioli, lobster, duck and veal. That's five. Pick one desert and you're done!!

              1. re: LucidInterval

                Thanks for the recommendations! I'm thinking about the crab, foie gras, langoustine, lobster, duck, and peaches and cream for dessert.

                1. re: ellenost

                  OMG, you have chosen everything I had except duck. lol
                  They were all good!

                  1. re: ellenost

                    Just checked the menu, and noticed that the langoustine, lobster and peaches & cream are no longer on the menu. My reservation isn't for 2 more weeks, so I guess I'll watch for any other changes (will probably have the scallops and the salmon, but not sure about dessert).

                    1. re: ellenost

                      Finally rescheduled my dinner reservation for Juni for this week. Menu has changed quite a bit so I think I'll go with the 4 course: foie gras, egg, poussin, and apple.

                      Has anyone had any of these dishes yet?

                      1. re: ellenost

                        Loved my dinner last night at Juni!

                        I ended up selecting the 6 course dinner which was perfect for me in terms of quantity. My 2 additional courses were among my favorites of the meal.

                        It's interesting/great to see so many excellent restaurants opening in the North Madison Park area. I had lived a bit east for many years until I moved uptown 6 years ago, and it was always a shame that there weren't many good restaurants in the area.

                        I was the first guest to arrive at 6:15, and requested to be seated in the second room which they didn't hesitate to do, and asked me which table I preferred. Service was very attentive throughout my dinner. Chef Shaun came out to say hello to me during my meal, which was very nice since I had never met him before (or dined at his other restaurant).

                        The dinner started with a lovely trio of amuses. My first course was the foie gras with apple composition and almond dust and a brioche served in its own cooking utensil. It was a lovely combination. My second course which was my favorite of the evening was the soft cooked egg in a corn puree--love egg; love corn--home run of a dish for me.

                        For my main courses I chose the black bass with yukon gold potatoes, flourless gnocchi and truffle sabayon. I normally would never select bass for a main dish, but this dish was delicious; I definitely would order this dish again. I need to mention that all of the dishes were beautifully plated.

                        My second main course was the poussin with pickled onions, garlic puree and creme fraiche emulsion. The breast meat was moist, and the thigh/leg meat was served rolled in its skin. There was the cockscomb served in a sweetened soy sauce like reduction which brought back memories of eating soy sauce chicken from Chinatown with my family.

                        I chose 2 desserts (of course). The first was the apple, maple, smoked marscapone rolled in oats. Excellent textural composition. This was the "safer"/more traditional of my desserts, and was quite good.

                        My second dessert sounded so interesting to me that I had to try it: grapes, walnuts, honey, mustard. This was my favorite! I happen to love honey mustard, but couldn't figure out how this would work for dessert. It does, and is brilliant. Some of the grapes were raw; some were cooked down to almost chewy raisins, and with the crunch of the walnuts provided great textures. Definitely would order this again.

                        The two dining rooms were about 3/4 full when I finished my dinner before 8:30. I highly recommend Juni. I look forward to reading the professional reviews, and expect to see 3 stars from the New York Times, and at least one (hopefully two) Michelin star(s) next year.

              2. re: kosmose7

                You're right. The courses listed in the 10 course don't look as appealing as the ones available for the 4 or 6 course. I wonder how the 6 course works, there appears to only be 5 sections to choose from.

            2. How are the dinner portion sizes? I'm also having problems narrowing down the choices. I'm thinking that I'll just try everything I want by getting a 4 course + a 6 course. Just wondering if it might be too much food.

              6 Replies
              1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                The portion sizes are pretty generous. My family went (2nd time for me) and we ordered the 4-course. My brother and my dad got an extra course, and it ended up being A LOT of food - too much.

                1. re: SARnyc

                  I tried the 6 course last week. I didn't think it was a lot of food but the bigger problem was that much of it was sorta mediocre. The exception was a black bass dish that was fantastic.

                  1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                    I am sorry to hear that.
                    What did you have?

                    I can see on their web site that most of the hit dishes I had on day 1 are now gone after they changed the dinner menu.

                    1. re: kosmose7

                      Kosmose7, I couldn't get the reply to post in the appropriate slot but here's what I had:

                      "hudson valley foie gras – apple composition – almond dust"
                      The foie was good, as it usually is, but none of the other elements did anything for me.

                      "zucchini blossom – gloucester scallop – ribbons – marigold"
                      this thing looked a lot better than it tasted. the scallops were at that stage of cooked/raw that I like but the uni was kind of separate and the whole thing just didn't meld. I just had a scallop/uni dish at aquavit. They did a much better job making the pairing of scallop and uni something that you would want to eat.

                      "anise hyssop – hudson valley duck – chef’s garden candy beets – natural jus"
                      Another dish that looked better than it tasted. This was just over sauced for me, plus i want my duck skin to be crisp so there's contrast with the layer of fat underneath.

                      "quinoa – veal tenderloin – burdock – mizuna – hon shimejis"
                      I liked the flavors of the mushrooms/quinoa/mizuna and the texture of the burdock but the veal was completely unremarkable.

                      "yukon gold – black bass – flourless gnocchi – truffle sabayon"
                      This was gooood. perfectly cooked fish. each of the other items were tasty individually and even better when combined. This wasn't true of most of the other dishes.

                      "chocolate – pistachio – black plum".
                      the pistachio plum tuile was nice to look at, actually the whole thing was very pretty but the sorbet was too soft and the ice cream too hard.

                      The petit fours were interesting and fun. a hyssop leave dipped in chocolate. a fig done into a beignet. a beet tuile with coconut bits.

                      1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                        I wasn't impressed with my meal at Juni. The service was very attentive and knowledgable but hovered too much. All the dishes came out warm to cold. The ravioli was undercooked and tough and cold. Doesn't help that the chargers at the table that serve as a platform for the plates are made of stone. Most plates were very busy with ingredients that didn't add up to much. I appreciate the effort and professionalism here but it left me .....cold.

                        1. re: chervil9

                          During the first three weeks since their opening, lunch menu looked better. But now I see on their website that it is somewhat meh... I haven't been back since about three weeks ago. Hope they bring back the great dishes.

              2. i see this board has been quiet for quite a while. i had lunch yesterday and all i can say is wow. the menu for lunch is a bit limiting, 3 choice for each course, but everything was terrific. food, service, pacing,, just great. the food was delicious and absolutely beautiful. i'm not one who cares much for plating but the dishes were beautifully plated. nice balance of flavors and textures, especially dessert. and good bread. all in all, incredible value for $35. it's in a bit of a wasteland but worth a detour.