For our 2nd wedding anniversary, Sean and I decided to dine in (I made THIS: Bourbon Glazed Salmon) but a few days before we also celebrated with a nice dinner out on the town at Juniper in downtown Tulsa. Fantastic experience. I’d like to rave about our evening there for a jiffy. Even if you don’t live in Oklahoma, it hopefully provides a nice window into how on-point Tulsa’s culinary scene is.
On my OpenTable online reservation I added a comment to share that it was our anniversary. I wasn’t sure if anyone would notice – sometimes restaurants appear too busy for that sort of thing.
Sean and I arrived around 8pm and were greeted at the front desk with a delightful “Happy Anniversary!” wished by Juniper’s owner, Chef Justin Thompson. Way to make us feel welcome, Chef – thank you so much! That set the mood for our evening beautifully. We ordered the pan fried sweetbreads for our appetizer; a dish that was a bit of a daring culinary adventure as neither of us ever tried sweetbreads before.
While we waited for our 1st course, Sean adorably decided to embarrass me by putting his napkin on top of his head. Very normal dining scene for us. He was successful in embarrassing me, by the way – I blushed and quickly looked around the room, nervously giggling as I saw diners looking our way.
“Mmhmmhmhm….sean……SEAN. Seriously. You’re adorable, but please take the napkin off your head. People are looking, and… I love you.” 🙂
We were really impressed with our appetizer (pictured on right). The sweetbreads were pan friend in a sage brown butter (helloooo…) and placed on top of a brilliantly seasoned butternut squash puree, accompanied by crispy kale and hazelnuts. It was a fabulous wintery dish that gave one last nod to autumn cuisine.
Our entree stopped us in conversation. Everything was perfect. The foodie nerd in me has grown to expect a high standard when its restaurant boasts such a thing. So…for me to not only say, “perfect” but also to italicize and bold it in this post is to deliver a heartfelt high five to Chef de Cuisine, Tim Slavin. Nicely done, Chef.
I had the scallops, perfectly seared and seasoned. I am a sucker for seared scallops paired with white beans. It reminds me of the first dish I ever tried at The Bocuse Restaurant on The Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park, NY campus when I first visited the campus. It’s absolutely one of my favorite combinations. I loved everything that accompanied this pairing at Juniper – the touch of truffle oil in the white beans, the elegantly ribboned carrots cooked in brown butter, and an added bit of interest from the fried sage leaves.
Sean had the short ribs which had been beautifully braised in Marshall IPA, then placed overtop a jalapeño pepperjack polenta and roasted vegetables. He took a bite, closed his eyes, and let out a sigh: “…hhhmmmmm.” That’s his version of a “bravo.” He offered a taste, and it just melted apart as slowly cooked short rips should, having been tended to over just the right time and temp.
Desert was an obvious choice.
“Can I interest you both in our Desert Menu toni….”
“YES!” – Sean and I both interrupted our server with a smile. We chose to split “Justin’s Favorite Chocolate Pie” which was as if chocolate’s “greatest hits” formed an album and this took the number one spot. It’s a reunion of decadently delicate chocolate mousse, oreo crumb crust, chocolate ganache, and a nicely balanced whipped cream.
We talked and giggled forever. I love that about being married to + in love with your best friend. You can just talk about everything from politics to your future as a family, until suddenly you look up and you’re the last ones in the restaurant. Even the tipsy table of eight had already left. Thank you for making us feel welcome and un-rushed, dear Juniper staff. We appreciated that very much.
We will be back – you can guarantee it. I whole heartedly recommend this to anyone else interested in a fine-dining quality taste of Tulsa.