Joey’s Restaurant/Grill/Lounge/Bar (Broadway)

Restaurant: Joey’s
Cuisine: Canadian/American/International/West Coast
Last visited: August 28, 2010
Location: Multiple locations – Vancouver, BC (Fairview)
Address: 1424 W Broadway
Price Range: $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4.5
Service: 4
Ambiance: 4.5
Overall: 4.5
Additional comments:

  • Canadian chain restaurant
  • Globally inspired menu
  • Casual dining, good quality
  • Fun/Casual/Young/Lively
  • Very popular to locals
  • Classic favourites & creative fusion dishes
  • Great for drinks and appetizers
  • Affordable to moderately priced
  • House made dishes/sauces/desserts
  • Fresh ingredients
  • Seasonal specials
  • Gluten free menu available
  • Wine bar/cocktails
  • Oceanwise
  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Valet parking $5

**Recommendations: Ahi Tuna Tacos, Tandoori Chicken Flatbread, Ahi Tuna Club, Baby Back Barbequed Ribs

Joey’s is a restaurant, grill, lounge and bar that originally started in Vancouver, BC. It is a chain restaurant that has now expanded to Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Seattle. It’s growing success is due to the casual yet contemporary atmosphere, fresh food that’s reasonably priced… and good looking waitresses. It’s similar to Cactus Club, but more affordable and it’s market is slightly more sophisticated that that of Earls. I haven’t tried the entire menu at any of these restaurants (if you have, I’d like to meet you), so I can’t say which is my favorite, but all of them are comparable and more or less well liked in Vancouver.

I know it’s a “chain restaurant” and it’s a bit “taboo” to blog about it, but I like the food here and people are still always curious so why not blog about it. Maybe I’ll introduce an item that you’ve never considered trying before, or maybe I’ll just make you hungry. The food here is consistently good and the prices are not cheap, but it’s reasonable if you take into consideration the overall ambiance and atmosphere.

On this occasion I came for appetizers, which I found oddly priced since they’re almost the same price as their burgers and sandwiches. The portions were definitely shareable and I enjoyed them for the most part. Joey’s is most popular for the lettuce wraps, chili chicken and calamari, but I’m not really a fan of ordering Chinese food at non-Chinese places unless there’s something uniquely different about it like at Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie. The food is fresh, seasonal, made in house, and very representable of West Caost flavours and tastes. It’s very Vancouver, and it should be since it all started here.

On the table:

Earth & Surf Calamari – 2.5/6

  • With tempura vegetables and roasted red pepper aioli $11.49
  • This is the 3rd most popular appetizer at Joey’s, but it was the least exciting for me although it tastes pretty good.
  • The Calamari had a crunchy batter, but they were very small rings and I tasted more batter than squid. They were quite chewy, but the batter wasn’t very seasoned so it really needed the dip.
  • The roasted red pepper aioli dip tasted like a smoky mayo and it was a bit boring and one dimensional in flavour. I actually would have preferred a tangy dip with more herbs, but I also would rather have a Greek style calamari in general. I like the calamari at Cactus Club better.
  • I did like the idea of the tempura vegetables (nice West coast twist with the love for Japanese cuisine), however they were a bit over fried and too soggy. The asparagus was mushy, but the few pieces of  deep fried fennel were great! They were almost like onion rings, but with a slight licorice flavour and I really enjoyed them.
  • They drizzle some chipotle aioli over the top before serving it and this sauce was more flavoufil and better than the roasted red pepper aioli dip. Both are made in house which is always a good thing.

**Ahi Tuna Tacos – 5/6

  • Seared rare with sesame ginger coleslaw and wasabi-lime aioli $11.49
  • This was a Japanese inspired appetizer with Mexican execution and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ahi tuna is right up my ally and this is the type of Asian dish that I would order from a non-Asian restaurant because it’s different enough and unique to Joey’s.

  • The crispy taco shells are fried in house and they almost taste slightly sweetened. They’re very crunchy and crispy and filled with a lightly dressed cole slaw, however I couldn’t really taste the sesame flavour. I could taste a hint of ginger, but it was very light and I think more sesame oil would have been nice.
  • The ahi tuna was also tasty with a Cajun-like spice rub and it was big enough that I had a piece in each bite, which only took me two to finish.
  • The wasabi-lime aioli was more like a salad dressing than aioli. I could taste lots of fresh ginger, subtle kick of wasabi, tangy lime and a bit of creaminess.
  • I think $10 would be fair because they’re quite small, but overall this appetizer was lovely in presentation and flavour and it’s the type of fusion dish I really like and would order again.

**Tandoori Chicken Flatbread – 5/6

  • Tandoori chicken with eggplant chutney, bell peppers, red onion, cilantro and cool yogurt $11.99
  • This was my other favourite appetizer and another fusion item that worked. Again, it’s inventive enough that it won’t be labeled as poorly made Indian food.
  • It’s 5 pieces of flatbread that can be easily shared, or with a side dish it’s substantial enough to be a meal on it’s own.

  • All the ingredients were very fresh and they were very generous with the toppings. Each piece had at least 1-2 long strips of grilled tandoori chicken. It was spiced, but not necessarily spicy.
  • It was actually more sweet and savoury and the bell peppers and onions were so caramelized that it was actually quite sweet. The yogurt added a cooling tang and the flatbread had a nicely toasted edge which brought out a nutty and smokey flavour. It could have been crispier like a pizza crust though because only the edges were crispy and the flat bread only had half and edge. I couldn’t taste the eggplant chutney at all, which I was looking forward too, and I questioned if there was even any at all.
  • It would have been even better if the cool yogurt was Raita – a traditional Indian yogurt with shredded cucumbers and sometimes carrots in it.

Pesto Shrimp Flatbread – 3.5/6

  • Pesto shrimp with whole milk mozzarella, sundried tomatoes garnished with chipotle aioli and fresh basil $12.99
  • This was surprisingly spicy, but I like spicy, however when Pesto is in the title, you also want to taste it. The ingredients used are fresh and also quite pricey, and they don’t skimp anywhere, but they were a bit wasted because the flavours kept fighting each other.

  • I could barely taste the pesto because the chipotle aioli was very dominating and overpowered all the other ingredients which were more delicate and soft.
  • I would have preferred if the shrimps were tossed in the pesto because otherwise they seemed really random and boring… and too straight out of the package from the fridge.
  • The sun-dried tomatoes added a tanginess to what was almost like a pizza, however all I could really taste was the chipotle aioli and tomatoes. The aioli was very good, but with the pesto, it’s just not as fitting and I liked it better with calamari or with yam fries.

Simple Green Salad – 4.5/6

  • Cool, crisp greens, shaved fennel & apple with candied pecans & tossed in a light poppy seed dressing. (starter size) $6.49
  • It is obvious that this was an all-girls thing yet?
  • It is a simple salad, but it’s also more than your basic greens and vinaigrette. It was light and refreshing and very easily dressed with a poppy seed vinaigrette that was lemony in flavour.
  • I loved the fennel which was very refreshing to see and eat. It’s not used much, but it has a gentle licorice taste and with the tart Granny Smith apples it was perfect.
  • The candied pecans were lightly glazed adding a sweetness to the overall tart salad and it was a great combination of ingredients.

**Side Fettucini Alfredo Pasta 3.5/6

  • $1.99
  • Now if you’ve managed to read my entire post, than you deserve to be let in on a little secret… this side Fettuccini Alfredo pasta!
  • It’s available as a main course for $12.99, but they don’t advertise that’s it’s also available as a side/appetizer for only $1.99! My friend told me about it, so we asked and they delivered! Anyone can order it and for $1.99 it’s a bang for your buck (or 2 in this case).
  • It’s simple, but it’s actually quite good too. The sauce is a bit thin, so it’s not as heavy as most Alfredo, but it’s still very flavourful and cheesy. Lots of butter and Parmesan and a little bit of cream and they top it with fresh basil, tomatoes and red onions. Very enjoyable and I can’t get over how cheap it is.

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