I received an invite to check out Juniper on the Water, located in Hallandale Beach, on the Intracoastal Waterway. This hidden gem is a great waterfront venue ideal for group events such as wedding rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, day after wedding brunch and corporate team building/client appreciation events.
About a year ago, owners Scott, Sho and Chris put their heads together and transformed an industry passion into reality. Juniper, meaning strength and “to bloom or flourish”, symbolizes the vision, heart and culinary passion combined by the owners.
Scott and Sho had been in the hospitality field for many years and learned every aspect of the restaurant business by working their way up the ranks. It seemed a likely progression for them to take this next step in opening a restaurant of their very own. “It really helps you learn when you start at the very bottom and learn from both the good and bad experiences,” says Scott.
The duo quickly crafted the idea and space for Juniper on the Water, and after 18 months of renovation, the restaurant opened its doors, emitting a warm and welcoming atmosphere to all. Juniper has a one-of-a-kind understated elegance, quite different from any other restaurant in the South Florida area. Besides the magnificent view, its upscale, Mediterranean, American and Seafood influences add the right touch of refinement, while its beach-like feel instantly helps diners feel at ease.
My dinner companion and I decided on a bottle of Rodney Strong Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley to take us through our appetizers and entrees. I would say that it was just about perfect, although had it been served slightly chilled, it would have been perfect, in my opinion.
Our first appetizer was the burrata cheese served with farm fresh tomatoes, micro basil, with a balsamic reduction over mixed greens & arugula. The tomatoes and micro basil and mixed greens were dressed nicely and were tasty. The buratta was a little small for two people to share and wasn’t as flavorful and robust as the ones I am accustomed to having.
Large head-on prawns; served with a spiced romesco, micro cilantro, and grilled lemon. My companion and I both really enjoyed this dish. The charred lemon was a nice touch and I enjoyed the added layer of freshly squeezed citrus over the prawns.
The braised lamb au jus with dried cranberries served over a creamy polenta was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. The lamb was so flavorful and tender it fell right off the bone and I just loved each bite of the polenta and au jus.
The house specialty, the Seafood Paella, (toasted Israeli couscous, clams, mussels, shrimp, fresh fish fillet, chorizo, green peas, & roasted bell peppers) was a flavorful mix representing Juniper’s Mediterranean culture and is an absolute MUST.
Juniper on the Water is open Monday – Thursday: 4pm – 10pm; Friday – Saturday: 4pm – 11pm Sunday Brunch: 11am – 3pm and Sun Dinner: 4pm – 10pm; Dinner Menu starts at 5pm daily; Happy Hour from 4pm – 7pm daily.
They are located beside The Hemispheres condos at 1975 S. Ocean Drive, Hallandale Beach. For more info or to make a reservation, call: 954.544.3370 or visit their website juniperonthewater.com.
I recently attended a media/blogger luncheon for the newly reopened Yoko San, now under new ownership/management, in Downtown Boca. The event was organized by Yoko San’s PR firm, Transmedia Group and guests were escorted to the small room to the left of the entrance where we each took a seat around the two hibachi tables. Soon after the guests had arrived, Corey Simpson, Yoko San’s new owner was introduced. Corey, an affable gentleman from the Island of Jamaica, is a new restaurateur, who had started out as an investor in Yoko San who took over full time operations when the restaurant reopened the end of January under new management. One could easily tell that Corey’s main objective is to ensure that each and every guest that visits Yoko San has an exceptional experience.
Our first course was miso soup followed by salad with ginger dressing; not surprising, pretty traditional and served at just about every hibachi restaurant. I’m torn between yearning for a fresh new take on the traditional Japanese soup and salad- something completely unique from what every other restaurant of this kind serves and the feeling of keeping with tradition; knowing that people have come to expect and count on these staples when they come to a place like this. What’s your take on this? Are you a traditionalist or someone who prefers more modern twists?
Next, a couple of trays of sushi (spicy tuna roll and CA roll) were brought out. To me, they were pretty standard, nothing that really delivered a WOW factor. They do have quite an impressive list of sushi rolls on the menu however, so I will have to come back and try some of the more exotic offerings.
Finally the Hibachi Chefs came out and the show was about to begin! Chef Victor proceeded over the table where I sat, where he began to humor us with his funny takes on “Japanese Egg Roll” and “Butter Fly” (you’ll have to sit at one of the hibachi tables there to fully appreciate these jokes). We each were given two shrimp, fried rice, hibachi vegetables and chicken & steak for our main course. There are lots of combos to choose from; just take a look at their menu to see what I mean. Everything that we were served on the hibachi was terrific. Midway through service, the Chefs switched tables and we now had the opportunity to experience Chef Billy’s charm. He’s quite the character and we’ll just leave it at that. I highly recommend you make a reservation for one of the hibachi tables, it’s quite the experience.
Corey had shared with us that they have quite the international collection of chefs back there in their kitchen. Vietnamese, Thai and somewhere else I cannot recall. He said that it’s both wonderful and challenging at the same time as sometimes he can’t understand a word that’s spoken when he goes back there, lol!
Yoko San is open for lunch, dinner and brunch on Sundays. They also have weekly special events such as Brazilian Nights every Friday night with Live Music and Drink Specials. Happy Hour drink specials every day from 5-8pm. Also every Monday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday from 8 – 10pm- buy 2 cocktails/beer or wine and receive a sushi roll for FREE! Ladies Nights Wednesdays- Ladies enjoy 1/2 off sushi from 7 – 9pm and Free drinks from 9 – 11pm. Finally, Latin Night Thursdays – for more information on these events, please visit their website or call them at 561-430-3565