Juniper Reopens in Hastings

Alex Sze’s New American restaurant now has more space and a killer cocktail menu

When Juniper — Alex Sze’s BYOB New American restaurant on Hastings’ Warburton Avenue — closed in May 2016 to move to a larger location, we had one question: When would it reopen? Sze opened Tacos on Hudson, a casual Mexican joint in the original Juniper space in June 2016. Then, a month or so later, New England seafood restaurant Bread & Brine, another venture by Sze and Jeremy McLellan (previously GM at Hastings’ The Mill and co-owner at Juniper), opened on Main Street. But when would Juniper open? 

The Pequod, a cocktail made with Indonesian red-rice rum

As of February, the doors have finally swung open at Juniper’s new location, and what’s inside is both new and familiar. “Juniper was really, really popular,” says GM and beverage director Clark Moore. “The idea here is to expand on that.” The kitchen is no longer on display. Blue walls, soft lighting, and potted succulents create an atmosphere that’s a bit more refined than the original, though still relaxed. And the large bar signals one major change: Juniper now serves alcohol. 

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Moore, who previously oversaw the beverage program at Harper’s in Dobbs Ferry, has crafted a list of cocktails featuring obscure ingredients like Dragoncello (a tarragon liquor) and Indonesian red-rice rum. “Going into this, I said, ‘I want to have the most fun and expansive backbar in Westchester,’” says Moore. “We went from having no bar to this dizzying array of spirits.” Juniper also boasts a 40-bottle wine list, featuring less-common varietals. “I’m looking to make a list where you can find incredible values,” says Moore, who often includes back vintages among the options. “I’m serving a Pinot Noir from 1999 from Sonoma that’s under $100. [We’re trying to find] those kinds of gems.”  

Sze’s new menu features a mix of eclectic small plates and larger, so-called “standards,” reminiscent of the Juniper’s original incarnation. “The idea is to keep things fresh,” says Moore. “When the weather gets warm, we’re going to be dealing with the local farms.” A late-winter menu featured dishes like creamy celeriac salad with buttermilk dressing, sunflower seeds, raisins, and shards of Gouda; crispy Brussels sprouts with a hard-fried egg, Parmesan, and breadcrumbs; and meltingly tender lamb ribs with cilantro and scallions.

Duck-fat rice with confit and crispy shallots

photo by Dave Zucker 

The small-plates menu includes some affordable luxuries, like seared duck breast and crisp-tender carrots over an earthy smear of mole; foie gras with persimmon, smoked dates, and syrupy vin cotto; and scallops with winter pears, parsnips, and miso. The standards section, meanwhile, includes a Juniper stalwart: a drippy burger topped with melted Gruyère, pastrami, fried onions, and pickles. “At the end of the day, Alex’s cooking is his cooking,” says Moore. “Whether it’s a small plate or something more entrée-sized, his cooking is what made Juniper a success in the first place.” 

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