Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 7:43AM
Since John was (GASP!) golfing. It was girls’ night. My friend Stacey and I headed to the Lower East Side establishment, Joe Doe.
I got there a little early, as I was on a mission. For gin. I really like gin. Anyway, I wanted some. And from the looks of their online cocktail menu, Joe Doe was willing to help me fulfill my mission.
I began with the Joe Doe Celery Soda. With house-made celery soda and some fun celery-salt/sugar on the rim, it was the perfect pre-dinner summertime drink. I was also served some complementary fried chickpeas. I’ve always been a fan of the chickpea, and I have to say frying them is definitely a good plan. Joe Doe’s version was light and crispy.
With drink in hand, I began to take in my surroundings. Joe Doe has a Southern farmhouse style: exposed bricks on the wall, dark wood tables, and lots of eclectic stuff (signs, photos, tins) hanging on the walls. The bluegrass and blues music selection helped to accentuate this vibe. The restaurant is small – I would say cozy. There are maybe six tables and seating at the bar. It feels very comfortable, not cramped at all. And very easy to strike up conversations with your neighbors if you are so inclined.
Stacey turned up and we ordered round 2 of drinks: this time the Smokey Joe (also with gin – are you sensing a pattern?). This one wasn’t my favorite. Stacey called it “the watery Bloody Mary.”
We did manage to order some food: to start the Warm Turkish Lavash, which was a zucchini Baba Ganoush with home made pita bread, cotija cheese and garnished with a pickle (at this point I should interject that I really like Joe Doe’s use of pickles). The lavash was delicious. And the pita – I’m not sure I have the words. But I will try. Thick, chewy (in a good way)….perfectly baked. The best I’ve had. This was definitely a home-run of an appetizer.
Onto dinner. I ordered the Roasted Bobo Chicken with corn rice pudding and peppers. Stacey opted for the Sumac Marinated Beef with roasted potatoes and a fried pickle. I must pause again here to comment on the use of pickles:
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS FRY A PICKLE.
I’m just saying. It was amazing. And I told the waitress in no uncertain terms that YOU SHOULD ALWAYS FRY A PICKLE. She clearly thought I had had too much gin, but I stand by my statement.
My chicken arrived with the foot STILL ATTACHED! Some people might be put off by this, but I squealed in delight (sort of). I kinda thought it was cool. Anyway, the chicken was well roasted and juicy with a crispy skin – I cleaned my plate.
We went on to order two desserts. Because, why not? They were the Wildflower Honey Custard and the Berries and Tapioca. The Wildflower Honey Custard was served with a crispy peanut flatbread (incidentally, when I was typing “flatbread” into my phone while taking notes that evening, my iPhone auto-corrected it to “goatheards”). This dessert was ridiculous. And by ridiculous, I mean I would like to eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner. And I could have, because the portion was huge. I like huge dessert portions, so no problem there…but our Berries and Tapioca remained untouched. However, our waitress neatly packed it up for me in a Tupperware container with the instructions that it was “best enjoyed late at night with the refrigerator door open.” How did she know?
I found the wait staff to be friendly and helpful, knowledgeable both about their seasonal food menu (Joe Doe tries to use only locally and organically raised/grown products) and their wine and cocktail offerings.
And the bathroom had a magazine rack!
Overall Movie Equivalent: Napolean Dynamite - The Offbeat Success