Chef Shaun Hergatt, one of the most creative and talented chefs in town, is back in the spotlight with a small new "boutique" restaurant called Juni, located in the Hotel Chandler on the edge of K-Town. It appears to be an elegantly relaxed place separated into two rooms—the front seats 20 diners under high Venetian arched ceilings, while the second room has your exposed beams, leather banquets and silver patina mirrors. Hergatt collaborated with artist Carol Dunn for the photos of "harvest bounty" that line the walls, in keeping with Juni's obsession with seasonal cuisine.
Hergatt, who first came to our attention through his Financial District restaurant SHO Shaun Hergatt, is a detail-obsessed perfectionist, which you can tell right away from his plating. The dishes have the appearance of living art, and although we haven't been there yet, these photographs are enough to get us salivating. The name Juni, Latin for June, is intended to evoke “the heart of the season,” and Hergatt promises that "by the time you leave, you should have a sense of well-being, and you should understand why the concept is season."
"baby leeks - maine lobster - scallop parcels - chia seeds" (Juni)
The ten course dinner tasting menu, which clocks in at $180, lists only the ingredients, presumably eschewing the reductive vulgarity of names and labels. Of course everything is locally-sourced and fresh as possible—the summer menu includes such delicacies as "potato fondant - black bass - flourless gnocchi - curls - truffle sabayon" and "local quail - black spice - earth tones." The restaurant's salt, according to the press release, "is made especially for Juni along with a proprietary coffee created by Toby’s Estate Coffee."
"anise hyssop - grimaud duck - chef’s garden candy beets - hibiscus jus" (Juni)
Even better, the release elaborates that Hergatt "utilizes nature’s colorful palate, allowing guests to eat with their eyes first." Yes, this sort of preciousness is begging for a Portlandia parody, but at the end of the day, do your taste buds really care about pretension or price or culinary buzzwords? Just look at this classy food porn!
"hudson valley foie gras - frog hollow peach tartar - pistachio dust" (Juni)
If the $180 ten course tasting menu is too rich for your blood, everything on the menu is also offered a la carte, and Juni has a $120 six course menu and a $90 four course menu. There's also a three-course prix-fixe lunch menu for $35 that changes weekly. Oh, and it goes without saying that the cocktail menu "features natural and freshly-picked vegetables, produce and herbs."
12 East 31st Street // 212-995-8599