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JOE'S in Venice - very disappointing

I finally made it to Joe’s in Venice. I heard (and read) about this restaurant for a while now, mostly very solid reviews, so I had reasonably high expectations. Sorry to report that my visit to Joe’s was very disappointing.

Both my companion and I had the tasting menu ($65 each). The amuse bouche - seared tuna with octopus, was interesting, if a bit strong on the aftertaste. The tuna sashimi appetizer was the highlight. Then the fish course arrived (don’t remember the name of the fish, it was a meaty white fish), my piece was completely raw. I very nicely asked the waiter to take it back to grill it a bit, which he did, and the cooked fish arrived. The problem (before it was fully cooked and after) was that it was too salty, and with not a lot of taste. Next – rabbit roulade with lentils on the side. The tiny bite of the rabbit was very good, but on the second bite all I could taste was fat and toughness (had to spit it into a napkin as it was un-chewable). So – the piece of the rabbit, the size of a dime, was very tasty, but the rest of the piece was inedible.
The dessert was fine, a cheesecake with raspberries – too rich to go with the meal, in my opinion, but not bad.

The bill – almost $200 with tip (we shared 1/2 bottle of wine). My companion felt the same way as I did…too expensive and not good enough. In addition to very mediocre food, flies and bugs were flying above our table most of the evening (and we sat indoors).

Either the tasting menu on the night I was there was off – or it is best to order a la carte. Or is the restaurant going downhill?

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  1. years ago i was a regular at joes.
    after a series of episodes not any better than yours, i stopped going there.
    imho, there are too many other, better, more reliable places to spend my money. . . .

    2 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal

      While I completely agree with you regarding their dinner, I keep finding myself coming back there for brunch. I think their brunch is a great deal, with tax and tip its only around $20/pp for two courses.

      1. re: westsidegal

        Agree; I've never had a good experience at Joe's.

      2. sorry about this experience and the waste of money!

        i am always a bit perplexed when i see people rave about joe's. i've never had an excellent meal there. i've had fine meals - but for the price, i just don't think it's worth my time. i'd rather eat somewhere new. even so - people seem to still like it. i guess it's just different tastes / different ordering? good luck to your next dining adventure!

        1. Stick to dining there before dark. I gave up eating dinner here a long time ago.
          Like joshekg, brunch/lunch is the way to go. It's always delicious and a great bargain.
          If only I could order anything but the peeky toe crab. That dish is great.

          1. I'd venture a guess the "bugs" referred to are fruit flies...better clean the drains and trash cans, bartenders. It's called "sidework" and management is supposed to follow up on these things.

            From this lack of attention, it would seem that management lacks the focus necessary to maintain Joe's rep. Ultimately, it's on them to see to the food , presentation and quality are up to par.

            The responses I see here indicate they are asleep at the wheel.

            1. Sorry to hear, I liked my meal at Joe's but it was a brunch (and the majority of raves I've heard are for that or their weekday lunches)


              1. About a year ago, I chose this restaurant for my birthday.
                After reading good things, I was pretty excited.
                It was a huge disappointment...and a HUGE bill!
                We had 4 of us, I think the bill ended just under $400.
                The worst meal? Salmon that actually stunk & served lukewarm, almost cold.
                I remember somebody observing that they could smell the salmon across the table.
                I was shocked that people rave about this place.
                No surprise here, I have never returned.

                1. You should have gone down the street to Gjelina. Never had a bad meal there.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: ExtraCheesePlease

                      Been to Gjelina, love it. Been about 10 times already, never disappointed. The strange thing about Joe's was that so many people were raving about it, I kept wondering what I was missing.
                      But, I think I've figured out who those people were. The same people who haven't been to the Abbott Kinney area in the last 5 years. Joe's might have had some moments, but they are LONG gone.
                      The meal was so bad & prices so high, it was an actual crime. The waiter should have been wearing a ski mask, because we got robbed!

                    2. Unfortunately, I also have to agree. I had brunch there a couple of years ago, and when our first courses arrived, my friend found a live, crawling slug in her salad! We called over the manager, and he was pretty blase about it. Not even an apology. They gave her a fruit plate instead, but did not even check back with us. Everything was downhill from there. Needless to say, I will not be returning. For a delicious brunch, I recommend 3 Square instead.

                      1. We went years ago and never went back...much ado about nothing! (...and $$$)