It has been a fabulous week! My friend Carrie and I got to enjoy a midweek meet up for a lunch tasting at Joe’s Seafood, and we haven’t stopped talking about it since.
I had been looking forward to visiting this restaurant for months, and in my excitement, had perused the menu several times prior to the tasting. So many seafood options I was impatient to try! I love when a restaurant can host steak and seafood fare side by side and excel at both. That is exactly what happens at Joe’s, which is a Chicago favorite for a reason. The restaurant was bustling when we walked in and definitely seemed to be a popular lunchtime hangout. We were greeted by friendly and well-dressed staff and then seated in a quiet section of the main dining room. The restaurant manager went over the menu with us in detail, and left us with the option to choose what looked appealing to us.
I was overwhelmed (in a good way) with all the wonderful pescetarian options they had and we decided to try something from each portion of the menu to get a complete overview. Of course, we had to begin with the namesake Stone Crab, which at the restaurant comes from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and are hand-harvested one claw at a time. Stone crab always hits the spot but is even better when the crabmeat is melt-in-your mouth soft and exuberates a little sweetness in each bite. It also came with their famous mustard sauce, which is specially flown in from their original restaurant in Miami. I loved it so much; I doubled it as a dressing on the Chopped Seafood Salad we ate next.
Now I’m always a little afraid to try seafood salads at restaurants because often they seem to be an awkward mix of some seafood and some lettuce. But at Joe’s, this salad is served as a seamless blend of fresh Alaskan King Crab, lobster, shrimp, radish, edamame, carrots and greens that were mixed together in a such a delicious and creamy vinaigrette, that it looked like everything just belonged together. The salad was hearty and also came with chopped avocado and pieces of boiled egg. Hints of dill in the dressing combined so well in flavor with the seafood medley, that I simply couldn’t stop eating it. This salad was absolutely fresh, tasty and visually appetizing…and my favorite!
We also ordered some warm appetizers such as their signature Shrimp DeJonghe and the Crab Cake. I don’t even know where to begin describing both these dishes. The DeJonghe had all the original elements of this classic Chicago dish. The shrimp came whole and blanketed in a buttery and garlicky breadcrumb mixture. I loved that the Chef did not hold back on the garlic and served it casserole style as it is supposed to be. With crabcakes, I’ve never really understood how they can pack colossal lump crab together with all those ingredients like they do at Joe’s. This crab patty had little fillers and a lot of flavor as well as the right amount of breadcrumbs to keep it together. It also came with that yummy mustard sauce which I had also been saving from my last dish, just to be safe. The crab cake here is surely an attention grabber!
We finished with the Pan Sauteed Branzino, which was lightly glazed with lemon and capers. Two beautiful looking fillets were served with lemon sauce, and parsley for garnish. The branzino itself was utterly flaky and tasty, and didn’t need a whole lot of seasonings. That’s why the capers added the perfect sodium kick to bring this dish to fruition. For sides, we also had the grilled tomatoes and sautéed broccolini, both of which were fantastic.
One would think after all that food, that dessert wouldn’t even be a thought. But when they mentioned their Havana Dream Pie with a Tres Leches filling, we found a way to make room in our tummies. Soft, milky and deliciously sweet- it is exactly the dessert you’d want after all that amazing seafood. Oh and our server also brought us a scoop of their popular peppermint ice cream drizzled with hot fudge. Sure! Why not and why stop now?!
We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at Joe’s Seafood and the entire tasting experience was dreamy. We were impressed that the quality of food was consistently good in all the dishes we tried, was prepared to perfection, and served with class. If for some reason, you haven’t made it to Joe’s yet, you’re missing out!