Steak: 5.0…I’ve had this particular selection before. I’m not supposed to say what it is because it isn’t even on the menu and the “average Joe” is not really supposed to know it exists, but it rhymes with The Boss. It is and always has been the best cut in town.
Starters/Sides: 5.0…The group decided to switch it up; Joe’s tomatoes, hash browns, some corn dish special, and sauteed spinach. I would probably rank them in the order they are listed standing alone, but each one seemed to pair excellently with the main course. Thrilled we made the decisions we did.Oh and the select stone crab, yeah that’s a 5.0 which stands by itself.
Ambiance: 4.5…I’ve been to Joe’s several times and the experience has always been top notch. We were greeted by management upon arrival who was thankful for our business and appreciative of our “intel”. I mean, we practically run the place by now. The wait staff was excellent and knowledgeable, as always. The interior and exterior show signs of age with its time, but it still represents the classic steak house of Chicago.
Drinks: 2.0…Oddly enough, in spite of what Adam’s thoughts may reflect, this was the low point of the night. We kicked things off with an old-fashioned at the bar which may be my least favorite of any I’ve had. The wine with dinner was mediocre. We may have prematurely selected a bottle of the Chianti (Felsina) when we should have gone straight to the deeper Spanish Rioja selection, which I experienced a glass of only towards the end of the meal. Nothing against the traditional staff, but has a professional sommelier not been considered? However, we were provided an excellent after-dinner cocktail which gave us the pick-me-up we needed to allow the night to proceed on.
Steak: 4.8…Dry-aged or Wet-aged…Dry-aged or Wet-aged…why not both?! As you’ll read in my write-up below, we had a few dry-aged steaks saved for us so instead of getting our own individual steaks, we decided to go Family Style and split 2 dry-aged bone-in ribeyes as well as 1 wet-aged bone-in ribeye. Oh man were these steaks fantastic! Perfectly cooked! Perfectly seasoned/salted! So which one was better? I loved the dry-aged soooo much, and the wet-aged was right up there with it. As it should be the dry-aged was very tender with a slap in the face flavor, and if available on my next visit, will definitely be ordered up! The sauce-side of me also really liked the Bearnaise sauce…great consistency, not a spread like some places but really creamy.
Starters/Sides: 4.0…We got a good amount of starters and sides. We started with the Stone Crab, which is a home run every time I order them from Joe’s! I could put that dipping sauce on everything I eat if I could! For sides, we got the hashed browns, the Joe’s grilled tomatoes, sweet corn, sauteed spinach. Could have done without the sauteed spinach, it was good, but i’m a creamed spinach guy any day. The Joe’s grilled tomatoes are a MUST! love this side dish! The hashed browns and sweet corn were spot on as well…we usually get a corn dish wherever we go, but this was the first time we had gotten a hashed browns dish, and it might be a new regular (if available!).
Ambiance: 4.9…I love this place…classic Chicago steakhouse! Always packed with steak-loving clientele, and steaks flying out of the kitchen every few seconds. What I really liked about Joe’s on this particular occasion was the staff, as staff plays a huge role in ‘ambiance’. A few days prior to our visit we started tweeting about our upcoming visit and how we were super hungry for some steaks, including a reference to a dry-aged steak that used to be on the menu but we knew was now unobtainable. ALAS, we received a private twitter message from Joe’s asking how many in our party so they could set aside some dry-aged steaks for us as those steaks are a hot commodity and they run out early each night. What an awesome gesture!! When we got seated at our table, the general manager of Joe’s stopped by our table, knew ALL of our names per a website scour, and let us know our dry-aged steaks were waiting to be cooked up for us! They were able to save for us 2 dry-aged steaks, which was awesome of them. If it was just that staff quality it still would have been a great night, but it only got better because our waitress Denise was awesome…the perfect steakhouse waitress. Great recommendations, great personality…tons of fun!
Drinks: 4.5…A couple of Old Fashioned cocktails…very good. A couple of Anchor Steam beers (my go-to steak beer!)…great. And the kicker of the evening was an AMAZING recommendation by the awesome waitress Denise for an after-dinner cocktail called a Carajillo. It’s about 2 shots of Licor 43 (I found it at Binny’s a few days after), a half-cup of brewed espresso (maybe 2 or 3 espresso shots), and ICE…yup, it’s a cold coffee liquor cocktail, and WOW was it fantastic. I also felt like I could have ran around the block a few times after, but that is besides the point. If I can learn to properly pronounce it, he Carajillo will be a staple in my cocktail ordering! I also have some of the wine, but don’t look to me for any mind-blowing insight…as I’ve said before, my preferred order is 1) whiskey, 2) beer, 3) something else interesting, 4) wine…it tasted like fermented grapes, so kudos to the vintner. So back to the Carajillo, as I mentioned I found the Licor 43 in the liquor section at Binnys, and because I don’t have an espresso machine I had to drop by Starbucks and order a few shots…not surprisingly, the baristas look at you very strange when you say “I need about a half cup of espresso for a cocktail I’m making, how many shots is that?”
Steak: 5.0…Management reaching out in advance offering to hold a couple of their select dry aged bone in cuts was a well appreciated move. Orders of medium-rare and medium gave a nice variety of texture. As if two special cut bone-ins wasn’t enough a 3rd steak (standard bone-in ribeye) was ordered. The steaks all had unforgettable flavors and the side seasoning allowed for additional enhancement. I’ve yet to have a disappointing bite of steak from Joe’s.
Starters/Sides: 4.5…Fresh stone crab, need I say more. I’m in anytime there’s an opportunity to combine Surf and Turf. The “Select” option gave each of us 2 healthy sized claws. We ventured out of our standard app comfort zone of mushrooms and brussel sprouts. We off the cuff went with hashed brown, grilled tomatoes, sweet corn, and sauteed spinach. They all paired well with the steaks provided a nice change of flavor than we are typically accustomed to.
Ambiance: 5.0…CLASSIC – PROFESSIONAL…Joe’s plays in the same trendy pool as the RPM Steak and STK, however they bring an untouched level of professionalism and consistency. Joe’s brings a classic steakhouse alongside a trendy overall feel and it’s a stellar combination. Joe’s has been in Chicago since 1999 and there’s a good reason its still open and booked solid Friday and Saturday nights. Start looking 3-4 weeks in advance for a weekend reservation.
Drinks: 3.0…I’m not a huge Chianti fan so the decision to go with the 2013 Felsina was a gamble. The light flavor was forgettable. Our later glasses of 2009 Marques de Riscal Rioja was a much decision. Spain wins over Italy! The dessert coffee drink was a great way to finish off the Joe’s experience!