Stepping into Juniper Austin for the second time since 2021, I couldn't help but feel a sense of anticipation and nostalgia. Our previous experience had been nothing short of amazing, and we were eager to create new memories. However, this time around, we decided to venture away from the prefix menu and delve into the à la carte options. Join me as I share my delightful yet slightly unexpected journey at Juniper Austin.
Welcoming Atmosphere and Outdoor Dining:
Upon making a reservation the day before, we were pleased to find outdoor and high-up tables available for our preferred time of 6:30 PM. Opting for the outdoor seating, we discovered a fully covered area that shielded us from the elements. Despite the warmth, the attentive staff promptly served us refreshing glasses of water, setting a welcoming tone for the evening. Juniper's clean and charming ambiance instantly reminded us why we fell in love with this place before.
Navigating the Menu:
As we settled into our seats, I noticed the menu had undergone a transformation since our last visit. The absence of familiar dishes triggered my "menu anxiety," and I began searching online for some reassurance. However, to my dismay, there were no examples of the current offerings. In my moment of uncertainty, I turned to our server for guidance, asking if they served chicken. His cheeky response, "We have everything you see on the menu," initially caught me off guard, but I quickly realized it was akin to shopping at a department store. Although this added to my anxiety, looking back, I wish I had known that the menu changes daily.
Exploring New Flavors:
Despite my initial reservations, we decided to embrace the unknown and order a variety of dishes. To start, we tried one of their mocktails, which, while visually appealing, didn't quite captivate our taste buds. However, the $5 bread was a hit with my toddler, who had limited options on the menu. Being pregnant, my choices were also somewhat restricted, but our server's assistance helped alleviate my concerns. The food, although lacking in vibrant presentation, had a decent taste. It did not quite evoke the colorful memories of our culinary adventures in Italy, but it satisfied our palates.
Kid-Friendly Experience and Beyond:
One area where Juniper Austin falls slightly short is in terms of catering to younger diners. Without a dedicated kids' menu, it becomes challenging to find options that would please little ones with particular tastes. However, the accommodating staff did provide us with a highchair, and the overall service was commendable, scoring a solid 4.5/5. Towards the end of our meal, our server even shared recommendations for nearby dessert spots, enhancing our overall experience.
Final Thoughts and Future Plans:
Reflecting on our second visit to Juniper Austin, I must admit that the ever-changing menu and lack of a kids' menu were slight turn-offs for us. However, I appreciate the reasonable bill of around $60, considering the quality of service and food we received. While I personally wouldn't rush back unless it was for a special occasion with the prefix menu, I still thoroughly enjoyed the evening. With its cheerful atmosphere and helpful staff, Juniper Austin remains a solid choice for those seeking unique dining experiences in the heart of Austin.
In conclusion, Juniper Austin offered us a delightful yet slightly different culinary adventure on our second visit. While my menu anxiety was tested, the friendly service, pleasant ambiance, and decent flavors made it a worthwhile experience. If you're in Austin and willing to embrace daily surprises, Juniper Austin is worth exploring, especially for special occasions or when indulging in their renowned prefix menu.