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Odam Swoons Over Juniper, Watson Goes Gaga(ish) for Geraldine's

Good vibrations this week.


The Statesman's Matthew Odam joins the choir of praise for Juniper. In fact, his voice may be the loudest in the chorus, with his declaration that the east side Italian restaurant is "revelatory." There, he finds few flaws: a little too much acid in the grilled broccolini, a little too much salt in the brodo. Citing "big flavor and solid execution," Odam loved the larger protein dishes:

Persimmon and pickled onion gave sweet tang to tender pink medallions of duck ($15), nutty parsnip purée and basil oil contrasted nature’s earthy and bright bounty on a dish of crispy branzino topped with pink wedges of braised radish ($15), and seared lamb belly was complemented by smoked radish and a dissolving cloud of smoky ricotta ($15).

The Chronicle's Brandon Watson visited Rainey Street for his review of Geraldine's in the Hotel Van Zandt. Noting that the dinner crowd skews older, he observes that the menu deftly navigates the tension between maturity and playfulness (the service, on the other hand, was "adolescent") by elevating plebeian ingredients in inventive ways:

Roasted slices of cauliflower ($13) are paired with a mustardy vinaigrette, basil purée, and cashew crunch. Humble cucumber freshens up a couple of dishes–playing off pepitas and snapper in the ceviche ($15) and adding to the Grecian allure of the Gulf shrimp ($26). Brown butter, one of the easiest feats of kitchen alchemy, is perhaps expected with Gulf snapper ($23), but not when tangerine supremes are thrown into the mix.

Watson also can't say enough nice things about pastry chef Callie Speer, from the biscuits with chocolate gravy to the goat cheese cake.

THE BLOGS: Foodie is the New Forty dines at Al Fico; Mad Betty emerges from new motherhood to review Korea House; Dine With Shayda brunches at South Congress Cafe with eggs benedict in mind; and Sushi in the ATX reports on the Thai Kun brick and mortar preview dinner at Qui.


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