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Dec 5, 2003 12:02 AM

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steaks, and Stone Crab

  • c

My girlfriend and I just had the most wonderful meal at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steaks, and Stone Crab. To be fair, I never had the Joe’s in Miami, but it’s hard for me to believe that it can get be any better. If it is…I’m going to Miami the next chance I get.

We started with the Shrimp De Jonghe and the Fried Oysters. The shrimp is bread crumbed and cooked in an obscene amount of butter. How can you go wrong, right? It was insanely good. The fried oysters were perfect…real fresh, tasty batter, and just right. Then, we both had the stone crab bisque, which was great for me…but a tad too salty for my girlfriend.

Okay…the best part - the stone crabs. We both had the “select” size. My biggest pet peeve of seafood here is that I never get enough of it for the price I pay. Well, its not any different here. Its expensive (obscenely)…BUT its worth every penny. We enjoyed every millimeter of it, licking our fingers clean. The meat was sweet, fresh, and if it was the last thing I ate in my life…I’d die with a big ass smile.

But the surprising part. Since we did the surf and turf thing, I had the porterhouse and my gf had the filet. I expected a good steak. But what I got was perhaps one of the best steaks I have ever had. The prime meat was charred perfect (not over charred like G&G), the meat was naturally tender, and the taste was “beefy.” Alongside the steaks were some good sea salt and freshly grounded black pepper. A nice touch. If my experience is not a one off “good” night, I wouldn’t hesitate coming back here just for the steaks.

After the meal, I immediately told my girlfriend that she’s taking me here for my birthday.

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  1. Critical, other than your gratuitous shot at G&G's properly charred steaks, I couldn't agree more. Joe's is very good, including the meats.

    4 Replies
    1. re: JeffB

      I've always wanted to like G&G's, but I guess its not for me. Just not a fan of the G&G style of excessive charring, which I believe causes the meat to be a tad "unjuicy". The atmoshpere is fun, and I wouldn't hesistate to take an out of town guest just for the entertainment and vibe of this Chicago institution.

      Just for the heck of it, here's my top 5 favorite steaks in Chicago.

      1) S&W's Bone-in Ribeye
      2) Joe's Porterhouse*
      3) Morton's Porterhouse
      4) Gibson's Porterhouse
      5) Magnum's Bone-in Ribeye

      This unscientific list is based solely on the taste of the steak...not atmosphere, not service, not price. Joe's gets a * because I've only had it once.

      But next time I go, I will be ordering the 22 oz bone-in strip. It was screaming at me, but the 40+ price is making me wait for a special ocassion.

      1. re: critical1

        Check out Rosebud Steakhouse and Keefer's if you haven't already. Opposite ends of the spectrum decor-wise, but both very good especially when it comes to sides and other non-meat dishes.

        1. re: JeffB

          I liked Keefer's...awesome crab cakes and sides. A nice piece of steak, but it just didn't stand out to me.

          I heard good things about Rosebud's, I'll try it one day. So many restaurants, so little time.

          I find the clubby decor and expense account clientale at many of our fine steakhouses to be a bit stodgy and uncomfortable. But, I don't care...I go for the steaks. Personally, on date nights, I prefer the vibe of the SushiSamba and Japonais of the world, and I guess that's what Nine is trying to do...its just that Nine doesn't serve good steaks. Too bad.

        2. re: critical1

          Normally, I'm a ribeye guy, so I was surprised that I loved the Joe's bone-in-filet. It is now my number one steak in Chicago.

          btw, in addition to the great steaks on your list (I've had all but for Magnum's), I recommend the bone-in-ribeye at Nine.

      2. I got to go to Joes Seafood, Prime Steaks, and Stone Crab yesterday for a birthday meal. My wife, baby, and mom went for lunch, and were thouroughly impressed. We started at the bar for a few drinks since we were an hour early for our reservation. (The one thing that shocked me was the dress some folks were wearing, some had on shorts, and many had on jeans. The people in my group were all dressed business casual with slacks, etc. To each their own I guess regarding what they wanted to wear., but I couldnt go to a place like Joes with ripped clothing on.) In the bar area I had 2 Budweisers, and 3 shots of Tres Genercions tequilla, my mom had 2 miller lites, and my wife had lemonaide. We also shared an order of Stone Crab Claws, an these were some of the best I have ever had. The meat was succulent, and sweet, and the accompanying mustard sauce was good, but the crab for many bites didnt require any sauce. It was that good. Tab at the bar was $78..

        Also eating in the bar area was former Detroit Piston Bill Lambier, and folks thankfully left him alone, and didnt act like star struck autograph seekers.

        We went in to the dining room, and I think the atmosphere @ Joes is really neat, comfotble, and sophisticated. We searched the menu, and I finally decided on a cup of the Stone Crab Bisque, and the 8oz bone in Filet - medium rare, & 3 over easy eggs off the brunch menu. My mom had Joes Scallops, and my wife the crab stuffed dover sole. We shared a small order of hash browns. The crab bisque was excellent, clearly one of the best cups of soup I have ever had in my life. Rich broth, and simply top notch. My bone in filet was cooked perfectly, and melted in my mouth, this was the first time I have had a bone-in Filet, and it was one of the better steaks I have ever had. The hash browns were good,and the over easy eggs were good as well. The Joes Scallops were excellent, some of the best I have ever had as well. They were cooked perfectly, and you could cut them in half with just the gentle pass of a fork. My wifes fish dish was ok, dover sole is a little to strong of a fish for me, but the crab stuffing, and asparagus was great.

        All in all a great dining experience, Joes rates up there as one of my top dining experiences ever in the Chicago area. Great service, and top notch food.

        1. We are going back to Joe's for a return visit this Saturday for dinner. Joe's based simply on the in season stone crab claws won out over David Burkes, Saloon, and Keefers as my other choices.

          I am looking forward to the stone crab bisque almost as much as the stone crab claws and the steak I am going to choose. Last time I went with the Bone-in Filet which was very good. THis time however I believe I am either going to order the Steak and Tails(petite filet, and broiled lobster tails), or the 28 oz. Porterhouse. We have not decided if we are just going to go with an order of select Stone Crabs, or order the 2nd Mortage to get some tastes of a few different items.

          It should be a fun Saturday in Chicago, a visit to the Shedd Aquarium, The American Girl Store, dinner @ Joe's, and a visit to Navy Pier.

          7 Replies
          1. re: swsidejim

            Sounds like a great road trip!!

            I recently went about 3 weeks ago, and I especially liked my bone-in rib-eye, Manhattan clam chowder, shrimp De Jonghe, and of course the stone crabs! The credit card bill hasn't hit us yet, but that was one pri$$ey meal!

            1. re: abf005

              We want to let my daughter see the Christmas lights downtown, and the aquarium.

              As I mentioned above those darn stone crabs are what pushed a return trip to Joe's over the top, and left David Burke's and the other places for a future visit. I am going to splurge, and probably get the Porterhouse.

              Joe's is pricy but I think it is worth it. Cost wise Joe's is no more or less dollar wise than the other steak places we go in Chicago, usually a little over $200 for dinner and drinks(top shelf tequila isnt cheap) for my wife and myself. I am calling this meal an early Chrsitmas gift to myself... ; )

              1. re: swsidejim

                I agree wholeheartedly with the above posters. Having been to Joe's twice in the last few months, and most recently last week, I can say it is definitely one of my favorite places in town but it is not cheap. Last week we had fresh Alaskan King Crab Legs which were amazing and beat out the stone crabs in a head to head taste. Also had the "special" dry aged sirloin which was perfectly cooked a shade under medium rare and was nicely charred. Service is always great.

                All this does come at a price, over $200/ couple but I feel it is worth it as it is as close to perfection I have experienced at a non-fine dining restaurant in Chicago. I don't think that Gibsons or Primehouse ever compare.

                1. re: Chico

                  I agree with you Chico, $200+ for dinner for 2 is a small price to pay for such a fantastic steak & the other items on the menu. I also agree Gibsons isnt even in the same league as Joe's in regards to the steaks, or service.

                  1. re: swsidejim

                    Whoa guys, hold on now!

                    I think Joe's and *most* of the top local steakhouses all offer pretty competitive pricing (with each other) & they all offer top prime grade aged quality meats. So I too have no issues with putting out $100-$200 per person for a quality dining experience knowing that I'm getting that level of meal.

                    That being said, I have to say that IMO Gibson's is only a slight notch down from being in the same league as Joe's, BUT to really go one better than Gibson's, simply go next door to Hugo Frogs, where the crowd is less boisterous and the added dimension of Gibson's steak + Hugo's very excellent seafood makes it an amazing dining experience that IMO is equal to or even better than Joe's.

                    As I think about the great meals I had this year, I think I may have had my finest dinner of 2007 at Hugo's this August, Joe's was a top 5'r as well, maybe #2...

                    Hm, I think this a great idea for a new thread topic!

                    1. re: abf005

                      For me, the steak @ Gibsons is pretty good, but I just do not enjoy the whole scene, and vibe of the "viagra triangle" area of the city. Perhaps that issue overshadows my overall opinion of the Gibson's experience. Also service @ Gibson's can sometimes be spotty. I have only eaten @ the Naperville location of Hugo's so I cannot comment on the Chicago location.

                      1. re: swsidejim

                        I agree ,the "scene" and be seen crowd can really be a pain, thats why I always go next door now!

          2. Our visit to Joe's on Saturday for dinner was another excellent dining experience start to finish. We arrived for our 5:00 reservation @ 4:00, and enjoyed a few drinks at the bar before checking in with the host. At the bar area I had 2 bottles of Budweiser, and 2 Sauza Tres Generaciones neat. Total tab $50 including tip. I checked in with the host about 10 mins before our reservation, and we were seated promptly @ 5:00. The bar area, and the dining room were packed.

            We ordered the 2nd Mortage appetizer, which consisted of medium stone crab claws, lobster tails, shrimp cocktail, and scallop, and shrimp ceviche. Of course the stone crab claws were my favorite, followed by the lobster tail. We next had the Stone Crab bisque. This is my favorite soup that I have ever tasted. So rich, and with many layers of flavors. As an entree my wife had the grouper, and I went for the 8 oz. Filet, paired with 3 select stone crab claws. We also shared hashbrown potatoes. My steak was excellent, typically like steaks with a bone, but this filet was flavorfull, and cooked to a perfect medium rare. The select stone crab claws were excellent. At the table we consumed another couple of beers, another couple of Tres Generaciones, and an amarettto sour. No desert, we were too full from the feast. Total tab with tip $200. So for $250 we had a great experience, and even better food.

            If there is a better steak house in Chicago I have yet to find it.