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Joes Crab Shack

I have never been there. One opened close to me and I was thinking about going.

What is your opinion of the place (rate it 1 - 10 and reason)


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    1. re: equal_Mark

      One in South Plainfield and Lawrenceville with one about to be built in Eatontown at the Monmouth Mall.

    2. Nice, I always wish we had one of these whenever I see one of their commercials on tv.

      1. not particularly good...unless you like all kinds of fried stuff and really salty preparations

        2 Replies
          1. re: Tapas52

            If it is in multiple locations and they provide a search function that involves entering a Zip Code, this would seem to be the case...

        1. i would compare them to seafood as olive garden is to italian

          1. I have tried branches in various parts of the country some were definitely better than others. I liked the one in Austin, TX and the one in the Atlanta suburbs. Colorado springs, not so much.

            They do have a lot of fried seafood on the menu. I like their steamer pots though.

            The prices seem to vary by location. They opened one in San Francisco, in a very touristy area, and the menu prices seem much higher than what I remember from the other locations. I would never go to that location because there are so many other options available.

            In the suburbs of Atlanta, with more reasonable prices, it's about a 5 or 6.

            1. No qualms with giving it a 1.

              Don't do it. Any option has to be better. Food is terrible and over priced. The decor is obnoxiously fake and service is straight from a script. They also break into song and dance. Seriously one of the worst meals I have ate in my life.

              1. Depends on the alternatives. In a land of 1s and 2s, JCS will tower over them with a solid 3. The food is unremarkable, rarely bad (if bad = inedible), but never great, either. Expect to see the staff whooping and hollering over somebody's birthday while you're there.

                I have never willingly gone to JCS - it's always a group thing where the retiree/birthday girl (it's never been the birthday boy) has chosen the place. I disagree w/ srsone: it's way worse than Olive Garden.

                1. Too expensive. Food is forgettable to terrible. You will wait for a drink refill until the staff finishes dancing. Smells like old fish inside. Otherwise I love it.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: Samalicious

                    Might it compare to Red Lobster? Another retirement/birthday destination...

                    1. re: equal_Mark

                      Red Lobster with better (more) lighting.

                      1. re: Fibber McGee

                        Oh, I disagree, it is way better than red lobster. Yes, it's kitchy, but that's the point. Their steampots are tasty (if a bit on the way salty side), and I've always found the service to be attentive. It's a chain restaurant - with everything that goes along with that (again, read: salty), but it's head and shoulders above red lobster.

                        1. re: tzurriz

                          Unfortunately, my experiences have not been that good there. Underwhelmed is how I would describe it, although I have not tried the steampot. That's for service and food, but all chains have their good and not-so-good locations. The crabcakes I have had were about as good as what one can get shrink wrapped at their grocery store. Kitsch does not bother me at all, sometimes it can be fun when you're in the mood for it.
                          I do believe everything is worth trying. I'd give it a 3 or 4.

                          1. re: Fibber McGee

                            ahh, see I've only ever had a steampot or crab there. Never tried their cakes. :)

                      2. re: equal_Mark

                        I think of JCS as the bastard love child of Red Lobster and a cowboy bar. If you like the ambiance of cowboy bars, you'll prefer JCS over Red Lobster. If you don't like cowboy bar atmosphere, you'll prefer Red Lobster over JCS.

                        1. re: ricepad

                          So basically the illegitimate offspring of Texas Roadhouse and Red Lobster concieved in the parking lot of a Oliver Garden after a drive through dinner from Arthur Treachers?

                          1. re: Duppie

                            theres an arthur treachers somewhere still?

                            1. re: srsone

                              Until about a year ago in my neighborhood, it's now a El Pollo Tropical.

                              1. re: Duppie

                                i havent seen any in years....i remember going there when i was a kid...
                                i liked their hush puppies

                                1. re: srsone

                                  Ohio has some and more are on the way, evidently.

                                  1. re: Fibber McGee

                                    ...and some folks apparently really, really like their fish recipe!
                                    :-) ;-)

                                    1. re: huiray

                                      yes i vaguely remember the crispy fried fish

                                      (this was probably the late 70s...very early 80s tho)

                            2. re: Duppie

                              That is the perfect description!!!

                              1. re: Duppie

                                Oh that's funny Duppie! Haven't eaten at one in a long time, the Joe's that is.I noticed their prices have gone up, so I tend to buy seafood from H.E.B.Grocerystores here in San Antonio and cook at home.Only time I recall them singing was for somebody's birthday, don't recall any dancing.

                        2. Unfortunately the best I can say for Joe's is that they sell cool baseball caps.

                            1. I went to the one on the lake in new orleans 15-20 years ago when it was a brand new chain and it was really good. Never made it back as there are too many other good places to eat in the city, but the seafood was GREAT.

                              Ive had it a couple of times in other locations since I moved away from new orleans in the last 5 years and it is absolutely abysmal. Like a 2/10 is being generous. Stay far far away now, its REALLY gone downhill since it's infancy. It used to be honest to goodness fresh seafood, now it is most definitely not fresh.

                              1. Ate there once and was never tempted to go again, the food imo was below average. Nothing I ate was particularly good and the portions were nothing special.

                                I think it is owned by the same company that used to run Morrison's Cafeterias.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: redfish62

                                  In central NJ, I returned a rental car in the building next to a Joe's Crab Shack. We never frequent chain restaurants, but gave it a shot. The only good part was that the bartender packs the bottled beer on ice. Corona's were frosty. My steampot of crab leg trio was a waste of time and money. And I guess I'm just too old to appreciate the server's dance routine. However, their parking lot is packed every time I drive past.

                                2. went to one in oceanside, ca. tourist dump - overpriced, sub par food, dancing staff. only thing that was good was the view. i went there 3 times - 3 times too many (was forced by family - at least i didnt pay). got a steamed bucket all three times. crab was dry, shrimp salty, but the mussels were fine. if you have one in the area that was cheap and there was limited seafood options - worth a try. otherwise, avoid.

                                  1. I find it pretty revolting. I've been to one in Long Beach, CA about 3 times. I don't know what possessed me to try the crab stuffed shrimp (or was it shrimp stuffed crab??) last time but I felt quite ill that evening. I promised myself I would never go back.

                                    1. I've been to the one in Mesquite, Texas, several times. It continues to go downhill. Poor service, poor management...just overall, a place to avoid. I kept thinking it would get better. It hasn't.


                                      1. I was born and raised in California and after college went to St Louis/Atlanta for jobs. I had not eaten my beloved dungeness crab in years, saw a Joe's Crab Shack in Atlanta. Decided to get some dungeness crab there, 1/10. Tasted nothing like the sweet savory dungeness crab I grew up eating, was just completely flavorless crab meat. It was as if the crab was cooked, frozen, thawed (where all the flavor thawed out), then steamed to re-heat which removed any last traces of crab flavor. By the time I ate it, it tasted like nothing. It also cost an arm and a leg, would never ever ever ever go back.