The review. An analysis of new and existing restaurants in the Vail Valley.
The Juniper Restaurant
As a general rule, we don't stray too far from downtown Vail and Lionshead restaurants. A couple of reasons for that "rule". Since we live in the village, we prefer to walk to dinner and then home afterwards which assures us of a safe passage back to the condo after the inevitable bottle or so plus of wine we enjoy during dinner.
And frankly with plenty of good eating choices here locally, there's not much reason to leave our nest. But with a gift certificate from a friend offering a multi-course meal at Edward's Juniper Restaurant, we did take advantage of that chance to drive down valley and try an establishment which has a very good reputation.
We arrived early as is our normal pattern and had a choice of seating near the front windows. The facility itself is very attractive. High ceilings, mirrored walls, something of a modern New York style bistro setup, but the acoustics were decent, allowing easy conversation.
Meal Highlights: We started with single glasses of white wine - Sue a nice meritage from Oregon - Sokol Blosser's Evolution # 9, and I sipped a Dr. Loosen Riesling. Both very pleasant - mine on the off dry side. Starters were a tuna tartare for her and rock shrimp on a cabbage base for me.
Entrees were both very prepared and presented - a veal scaloppini with flavored potatoes and lobster piece for Sue and a wonderful grilled duck breast with a cranberry/red cabbage side and mashed sweet potatoes for me. We enjoyed a whole bottle of the Evolution wine. For desert it was a standard crème brulee that we shared. Our waiter, Kenny, was outstanding as was the rest of the service staff.
Lowlights: Actually there were several, although not enough to really badly damage the overall experience. The way the greeter seated incoming parties tended to clump people together, rather than allowing some space between tables. Very strange and not really appreciated. The bread basket and both of our starter courses were decent but quite pedestrian.
The wine list we also found strange and unusually lacking in not only value priced bottles, but very short on Italian and French wines of all types (not that we normally choose those anyway), but we didn't find the list to be easy to pair with the food offerings. At the end our desert course of crème brulee was really too cold in the middle and obviously a generic preparation - which is to be expected, but at least disguised a bit.
Despite what we felt were a number of less than satisfactory issues, I'd still give Juniper a rating for the quality of the main courses and the service by the wait staff which really was outstanding. Were we happy enough that we'd venture back down to Edwards again, probably not..
Reviewed by ORP on 12/11/05.
Previously reviewed: La Bottega Alicante Kaltenberg Castle Gore Creek Grill La Tour Bighorn Bistro Larkspur Sapphire Tavolaccio Mezzaluna The Left Bank Billy's Island Grill Sweet Basil Wildflower
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