After reading so many recommendations for Jujube, and after hearing about it from several Chapel Hill friends, a group of us from Durham headed over last night. I don't know what I was expecting, but I don't think I was expecting a restaurant tucked in the back corner of a strip mall. (To my credit, I am still transitioning from DC to NC and I try not to judge a book by its' cover.) At 7pm, it was incredibly empty and we were seated immediately. One of the members of our party of four went to wash her hands, and I was surprised that the server came to take our drink order while she was away.
After she got back, our drinks came and our server then took her drink order.
After reviewing the menu and specials, our server returned to tell us about the specials, which consisted of her reading the specials from the menu...and giving us no new information. I guess I was hoping that she would have tried them and could tell me a little bit about them.
We started with the sweet potato fritters and the salad rolls, which I enjoyed very much.
I ordered the blanched noodles with spicy yellow curry, coconut milk, carrots, lime, and cilantro. It was a very large dish, which seemed endless and left me with well more than I could consume at lunch. It was a little bland for my tastes without much zing. The flavors seemed to be pretty standard for a Thai place, but somewhat Americanized.
I thought the service was pretty poor. We were there for over an hour and my water glass sat empty for much of the meal. The servers repeatedly reached across people in our party to set dishes and glasses in front of other people.
Overall, I'd say my experience wasn't very good. The food was mediocre and service was a step below that.
Great bar service.
I have been to Jujube several times, most recently on a Tuesday night. We walked right up to the bar, and were served promptly.
I usually sit at the bar, which never disappoints. The regular bartender is friendly and knowledgeable about the cocktails as well as the food- he offered great recommendations. I have worked in restaurants and have learned that the best way to get a good meal is to ask the staff what their favorites are- my dad had the sea bass special, and I had the hanger steak (both recommended by the bartender) and we were both impressed. We both had cocktails to start (to have with our dumpling appetizer, which was awesome), and then ordered wine before our food came. I ordered without really thinking about what I'd ordered for dinner- then when my meal came, the bartender brought over a complimentary glass of wine that he thought would go well with my meal- it was fabulous.
I do not understand the bad reviews- I have never had a bad experience at Jujube, and my latest was above and beyond expectations.
Get the soft shell crab. My husband and I have been going to Jujube since it opened and it remains one of our favorite restaurants. We went last night and sat on the patio which is lovely. We got two of their specialty drinks- a tangerine martini and a manhattan. They took a little while- actually longer than our appetizers- but were well worth the wait. My husband got the steak as usual. Normally I get the crab and shrimp cakes, but was tempted by the soft shell crab special. The black bean sauce that came with it was pretty spicy, but just delicious. Definitely the best meal I've had in awhile.
I expected more..
Because of raving reviews from both media and friends, we decided to celebrate a special occasion here. However, our dining experience was disappointing. The staff was not knowledgable of their own menu, everything served was too salty (I'm not talking regular asian salty...I'm talking salt-bomb-on-your-tongue), and my cocktail was not even cold.
What happened? Was it a fluke night? It was a Wednesday, I guess. I don't think I will ever know, because I doubt I'll be tempted to give Jujube another try. There are just better places to eat.
Decent food, but.... I went to Jujubi with some friends because of the good reviews, but I was disappointed. The food itself is decent, similar with the flavor of Lantern restaurant on Franklin street. But I was surprised that they don't provide rice with the dish (any restaurant you go, the dish usually goes with bread, or rice, or pasta, or flour tortilla, right?) Fortunately, my friends and I shared the food and we ordered two noodle dishes. But our most expensive dish (coconut mixed seafood something), which is supposed to taste very good is difficult to swallow without rice or noodle because it is too spicy and salty to just eat itself. I asked for some bland noodle for the dish but they never served it, so we had to take the dish home as leftover?
A Wonderful Evening.... I brought my fiance to Jujube to celebrate his birthday, in October. We are both "foodies" and enjoy nothing more than going out for a nice dinner. With our first visit to Jujube, we were not disappointed! We were seated promptly, according to our reservation time. Our waitress was attentive, and even intuitive. She was accessible, without hovering. We started out evening with cocktails off of the menu; a Chi for me, and a Jujube Manhattan for him. We were pleased with our drinks - I loved the Chi. (All ingredients were fresh!) After drinks, we shared a noodle dish. I can't remember the name, it was shrimp in a sweet and spicy brown sauce. It was very flavorful, and filling! We were so pleased with the noodle dish, we thought it couldn't get any better. Thankfully, we were wrong! We both enjoyed our entrees immensely. I had the Crab Cake entree. He had the Duck in plum sauce. We couldn't have been more pleased! Everything was so unique, fresh, and delicious! After dinner, we had another drink at the bar. We spoke at length with the bartender, who was engaging and friendly, and increbibly knowledgeable about the area. (Single ladies - he's also very attractive!) Eventually, the chef/owner came out. He took the time out of his evening to sit and speak with us - perfect strangers. He is obviously extremely passionate about what he does and expressed his appreciation for open-minded people who walk into his restaurant with no expectations. Jujube is unlike any other asian-inspired restaurant in the area! When we left, he encouraged us to call ahead next time, so he can create a meal for us of things not on the menu. We are planning on returning soon, and we will do just that - trust the chef to create something unique specifically for us. Open your mind, and visit Jujube. It was truly a spectacular experience!
Average at best. I won't beat them badly, the dumplings were good, but the rest including wait staff, meal and dessert were only average at best. Won't return.
Too expensive for food that's not great. We went to this restaurant because we wanted to try their dim sum, but we came out of the restaurant very disappointed. They don't serve dim sum anymore, so we ordered appetizers- dumplings and daikon cake. Dumplings were okay, nothing special, and daikon cake was just bland. They charge too much for food that's below average.
Mediocre - Definitely overrated. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad restaurant. The ambience and service was good. However, the food is definitely mediocre - perhaps it is overhyped - but the food was definitely average at best. The menu is not at all original - very much derivative of places like the Slanted Door. The food just wasn't prepared well - the meat wasn't tender, the beans were tough, there was too much sauce and it was very watery. While this may be a unique style of food for Chapel Hill, it definitely could use some work. Quite frankly, the issues I had with their food were beginner issues I used to experience when I first started cooking Asian food. Meanwhile, I'll stick to getting my Asian fusion elsewhere.
Great Food, Great Service!. Great crab/shrimp cakes, beef ribs and by far the best was the Kung Pao Chicken (which was the least expensive meal on the menue.) There were four of us and we tasted everyting that was ordered, we all agreed that the food was top notch. (It's hard to please all four of us!) The service was on time and fun. Can't wait until next time!!!!