Juniper & Ivy
2228 Kettner Boulevard
Photo by Amanda Friedman, AFAR Media
Juniper & IvyFor a place that’s best known for its buttermilk biscuits, Juniper & Ivy seems improbably swanky at first. Picture curtained-off banquettes, modern light fixtures, and painstakingly turned-out patrons. But the upscale/down-home contrast is exactly the point. Trendsetting chef Richard Blais, of Top Chef All Stars fame, is known for starting with American classics—say, buttermilk biscuits—and elevating them (in this case, with individual serving domes full of biscuit-infusing alderwood smoke). Similarly, the New York strip steak deviates from the norm with crispy sunchokes and mushroom sofrito, among other touches. Then there’s the semi-secret menu item: the so-called In-N-Haute burger, made from a blend of short rib, brisket, chuck and dry-aged beef, then wrapped and seared in cheese before landing on an egg bun next to a heap of salt-and-pepper-dusted fries. Although you’ll be tempted to order something from the wine collection that spans two stories—if only to see the sliding library ladder in use—you should at least consider one of the cocktails, and particularly the Salt of the Earth: mezcal, tequila, Ancho Reyes liqueur, beet juice, lemon juice, mole bitters, honey, and cracked salt. This magenta elixir is almost too pretty to drink. Almost.