If there is a question as to just how authentic Jun is, a peek into the kitchen at the North Loop Chinese restaurant will give diners a starting clue.
On the line at the front of the open kitchen, cooks – a few of them, it’s fair to say, were grandma-aged – systematically roll and cut dough for the fresh, hand-pulled noodles.
Chef de Cuisine, Jack Wang flings noodles into the air letting them twist into spirals before kneading the dough again. The instructions on the kitchen appliances?
They’re all written in Cantonese, as much of the staff doesn’t speak English.
So, as trendy as Jun appears to be – with its craft cocktails and chic design – patrons should expect something traditional, too, when the restaurant celebrates its grand opening on Saturday (Jan. 21).
The menu is broken into small dishes (such as the dumplings and couples’ beef with spices, pictured above), soups, rice and noodle dishes and categories of vegetarian, pork, poultry, seafood and beef and lamb dishes. There are some very recognizable plates – sesame chicken, bao bao, pork spare ribs and shrimp with garlic sauce, for example – along with options that might be more unique for diners, such as the broiled fish in broth and the smoked pigs ears. The current menu, staff said, could still change somewhat.
On the cocktail list, Jun – housed in the former Rojo Mexican Grill space at 730 N. Washington Av. – makes great use out of a spirit rarely seen around the Twin Cities: Baijiu. The clear Chinese-originated liquor typically made from fermented sorghum finds its way into a variety of drinks, including the Sichuan Mezcal (pictured), a smoky sipper of Mezcal, Baijiu, Sichuan pepper simple syrup and bitters.
Patrons can sit and enjoy those cocktails at the modest-sized, marble-topped bar (there is a TV, sports fans) flanked by a small lounge, or in two seating areas that combine slate and chartreuse hues under bouquets of large, cylindrical light fixtures.
When Jun opens this weekend, it will initially serve dinner from 4-11 p.m. A lunch service will be added eventually.