Keeping Cool at Juno

September 12, 2008

Over the Labor Day weekend we had the pleasure of trying Juno, the new restaurant in the refurbished Arctic Hotel in downtown Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, for the very first time.

It’s a beautiful space with dark wooden booths, marble floors, and a full bar with warm Veuve-Clicquot-orange back lighting. An Heirloom Melon & Cucumber Salad with Elderflower Vinaigrette was a Day-Glo sculpture of melon balls and cucumber curls. Light and luscious!

Crab & Fig Salad suffered from too many elements. I would have preferred the organic greens with the sweet crab claws, crunchy Marcona almonds, and vanilla vinaigrette alone. Both the halved figs and Cabrales (Spanish blue cheese) overpowered the rest of the dish. 

My main of Dungeness Crab “Ravioli” with Sauternes Lobster Cream, Arugula, and PIne Nuts was simply sublime–one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time. The dish was suggested by our overly perky server, whose constant description of everything as “perfect” quickly grew tiresome. 

Although offered as a Small Plate appetizer on Juno\'s menu, I chose Stilton Soufflé instead as a savory cheese course to end my meal.

A three- or five-course tasting menu is offered for $45 or $65, with accompanying wine flights for $15 or $25. Shrimp & Grits and Niman Ranch Ribeye were two of the savory courses, with a Mission Fig Tart (paired with McCrea Ciel du Cheval Rosé) for dessert. 

For dessert I chose one of the “Small Plates” which is actually normally served as an appetizer. Stilton Soufflé was a real egg soufflé, and the “perfect” (sorry!) after-dinner savory cheese course with its creamy texture, sweet pepper relish, and thinly sliced trio of grilled bread ovals.

Sour Cream and Basil Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries and Basil Purée combined sweet and savory elements to “perfection,” the sweet, dense pudding tamed by the anise-y basil. 

The wine list is substantial and rich with wines from around the world, as well as many excellent Northwest selections. We chose a 2006 Meursault and were not disappointed. 

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