Rachel’s Food Tourism: JuneBaby
It’s been awhile but I am finally sharing another restaurant in this Rachel’s Food Tourism post. Today I will be telling you about an amazing Seattle restaurant, JuneBaby. If go to JuneBaby’s website, you’ll find this statement:
“Southern cuisine has always had and continues to have stereotypical connotations. Seen through the eyes of most Americans as inferior, unsophisticated, and unhealthy, Southern food reflects hard times and resourcefulness and is nothing short of beautiful. It is a cuisine to be respected and celebrated.”
We’ve been several times in the past few months and most recently went on a Sunday night for JuneBaby’s famous fried chicken dinner. Each night, JuneBaby has a special and the fried chicken on Sundays is in high demand, so much so that they provide diners status when they check in to be seated. If you plan on going on a Sunday (and you absolutely should!), plan on getting there early for the Moonshine Hour (the happy hour on Saturday and Sundays) by 4:30 at the latest. Then you can secure a table, have some snacks and be guaranteed fried chicken when it starts being served at 5. Last time we got there at 4:45 and arrogantly strolled in thinking we would get a seat. Ha! We had to put our name in and got seated about an hour later. The good news is that there’s a Third Place Books just up the block where you can browse or you can go to Salare (chef Edouardo Jordan’s other restaurant) for a drink while you wait.
So now onto the food!
We treated ourselves to the full gamut of cocktails, appetizers, dinner and dessert. For the drinks I ordered a Negroni and Derek got something that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of. Both were tasty and I learned a trick I’m going to have to try at home. The bartender cut a little slit in the orange zest on my drink so that it held on to the edge of the glass without slipping, very clever!
For starters we got the Pimento Cheese with Saltines and Cast Iron Flint Cornbread. Both were absolutely stellar! The menu just states that the cheese comes with saltines so I was blown away when I saw the housemade crackers. They are super delicate but still sturdy enough to hold a heaping spoonful of cheese. Pimento cheese is a southern classic and JuneBaby’s version does not disappoint. It was salty and creamy. It also came with pickled veggies which was a great acidic counter balance to the rich cheese.
The cornbread had a flavor kind of like rye but was still sweet and moist.
For our main entrees Derek got the Sunday Night Fried Chicken meal and I got the Fried Catfish. The fried chicken meal is half a chicken served with a side and a biscuit (omg, those biscuits!). The chicken is super crunchy on the outside but still moist on the inside. It’s also drizzled with a habañero honey that adds a touch of sweetness and a little bit of spice (not too much though). The side the night we went was a lima bean salad. I always thought I didn’t like lima beans, but that salad might have made me a convert!
Fried catfish is another southern classic and JuneBaby did it justice. It was coated in cornmeal and fried to perfection. It was well seasoned and crunchy but not greasy. It was served on a bed of super creamy grits with corn and a red sauce. The combination was outstanding! Whenever I make grits at home, they never come out this smooth and creamy. I’m going to have to experiment.
We were both stuffed by the end of dinner so we ordered some desserts to take home. I got the banana bread pudding and Derek got the Cinnamon Marshmallow JunePie. The bread pudding was insane! It was like bread pudding and French toast were combined to make a heavenly dessert. It was topped with a rich custard sauce that gave everything an addictive quality. The JunePie was basically an elevated moon pie, a graham cracker and marshmallow sandwich dipped in chocolate and topped with flake salt. It was also fantastic, but I think that I won the dessert round! 😉
The meal was excellent and made even better by the staff. Every time we’ve been the service has been excellent, friendly and always happy to offer a suggestion or description of something on the menu. The last time we went, which was our third, the host even recognized us and gave us a “welcome back” which made us feel pretty special. JuneBaby is a place we will surely become regulars at and has truly mastered the art of comfort food. I am also really excited to support a local black-owned business and it warms my heart that it’s having so much success!
JuneBaby is in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. I would also recommend following JuneBaby on Instagram for photos of the amazing food served there along with enriching information about the southern roots behind the food. ingredients used in the restaurant, and other great tidbits like the first African-American cookbook author.