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The French Connection
Juniper’s seasonal menu features a colorful array of dishes, including, from left, Duck Two Ways; apple, pear, and blueberry cobbler; and Brown Butter Trout Amandine.
Photo by MELISSA LUKENBAUGH
A Tulsa eatery serves gourmet cuisine in provincial comfort.
By Karlie Tipton
Published March/April 2016
Memories have a glow about them, a wash of sensory details with which real life sometimes can’t compete. Except in the case of Juniper in downtown Tulsa. Bright sunlight bouncing off white décor, the rich smells of simmering butter and baking apples, and the soft melody of classical music combine to form an experience like stepping into a memory guests never knew they had.
“We want them to feel like they have been invited to their French grandmother’s house,” says Tim Slavin, corporate chef for Justin Thompson Restaurant Group, which owns Juniper.
Like all good hosts, the Juniper staff are concerned first with guests’ hunger. Although the restaurant’s menu is decidedly French—with dishes like Duck Two Ways, which features seared duck breast with duck confit, best paired with a full-bodied glass of Château Recougne Bordeaux Superiéur—there are flavors both lavish and delicate to accommodate any palate.
“I love the creamy carrot soup, which is just the right balance of sweet and savory,” says Jocelyn Lee Payne of Tulsa. “Each time I’ve tried something new, it’s been interesting and tasty, something that made me happy.”
Whether happiness comes on a plate or in a glass, there’s a good chance it didn’t have to travel far to reach the table. The Blue Dome Martini, for example, is made with house-infused blueberry vodka, St. Germain, and fresh lime with a mint garnish from fifty feet away in the restaurant’s garden. If they can’t grow something in their own backyard, the chefs source as many ingredients locally as possible. For that reason, the restaurant’s menu changes three to four times a year.
“We want to capture the spirit of the season,” Slavin says. “During the spring, we like to incorporate fresh berries and rhubarb. During the summer, we might serve a Porter peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream made in-house that sells out every day.”
For those who want a taste of the freshest seasonal offerings but are overwhelmed by the options, Juniper’s prix fixe menu provides a curated culinary experience ranging from $49 to $94 depending on the number of courses and wine pairings.
While eating anything at Juniper is a sumptuous experience, it isn’t one reserved only for the wealthy. When JTR group proprietor chef Justin Thompson opened the bistro in October 2011, he wanted people of all incomes to be able to enjoy a lovely meal.
“You can get a quick eight-dollar lunch special, you can come in on Monday night and grab an appetizer and a drink and listen to live jazz, or you can order the prix fixe and get a seven-course dinner,” Thompson says.
Whether it’s thirty minutes inhaling a chicken cordon bleu sandwich at noon or three hours sipping champagne and savoring sweetbreads by evening candlelight, memories of Juniper will linger long after the last bite.
Get There: Juniper is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 324 East Third Street in Tulsa, (918) 794-1090 or junipertulsa.com.