Not Your Average Joe…

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We are talking way, way, way above your average Joe.

Joe’s Restaurant, on Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice, has been around for over 20 years and is still vibrant, vital and serving fabulous food.

Joe’s was well established on Abbott Kinney before it became one of the trendiest streets in Los Angeles.

I remember taking my daughter, Courtny, to kick boxing classes on Abbott Kinney in 1991 and the street was pretty shady and unimpressive, dotted with a plethora of dank bars. Joe’s was the only class act on the street.

Joe’s is still a delectably comfortable fit, featuring farmer’s market driven ingredients with an accent on California-French cuisine.

Joe's Dining Room
Joe’s Dining Room

We recently revisited Joe’s…haven’t been there in probably 20 years. The impetus being Chef Joe Miller who happens to be our neighbor.

I made the reservation and was concerned if I didn’t enjoy the meal I couldn’t post a review because that would be too awkward.

No problem…Joe’s was marvelous. The restaurant is homey and unconvoluted…a relaxed place to enjoy your dining partner and have a delicious meal.

We switched the time of our reservation at the last minute so when we arrived on an unusually hot August night we had to wait for an air conditioned inside table as the patio was a bit warm.

Joe's Bar
Joe’s Bar

We siddled up to the bar and had a lovely conversation with the charming, bilingual bartender, Martin. I was fooled at first when I heard him conversing in Spanish…great accent. Then in perfect English, he asked what we would like to drink. Turns out the charming Martin went to high school in Cabo San Lucas where his family has a home.

2009 Jaffe Estates Cabernet
2009 Jaffe Estates Cabernet

David was in the mood for a cocktail and I opted for wine. We then projected ahead to dinner and decided to order a bottle. Martin suggested the 2009 Jaffe Estates, Metamorphosis, which is a stellar wine, balanced, full bodied, flavorful, great finish ($72).

We spent an enjoyable hour at the bar and then settled into the intimate dining room.

Bread, Butter & Tapenade
Bread, Butter & Tapenade

Joe’s offers a variety of fabulous deals…prix fixe 4 course menu at $48, a 7-course menu for $75 with wine flight an additional $33. The menus are available Monday-Saturday.

Sunday, Joe’s features 3 courses for $35. The food is first rate and selections are ever changing.

David chose the prix fixe menu.

Amuse Bouche
Amuse Bouche

He started with an amuse of lovely heirloom tomato gazpacho with marcona almonds and croutons.

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The first course was a wonderful eastern sea scallops crudo with sea beans, buttermilk, horseradish, poppy seeds, yuzu and lime. The dish was fresh and creamy with a bit of a kick.

The other choice was a panzanella with heirloom tomatoes, Japanese cucumber, shallots, parmesan, dressed with a lemon vinaigrette.

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David’s main course was a marvelous wild Washington king salmon, prepared to perfection with purple barley, baba ghanoush, zucchini and fig.

Option 2 was the Sonoma duck breast with Beluga lentils, cipollini, romano beans and fig compote.

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I went rogue and ordered an A-mazing grilled tuna with seared foie gras on a rosti potato sautéed with red wine and herbs ($22). This dish is well worth revisiting.

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Joe then sent over a foie gras pate on fabulous country bread adorned with fig. I will admit to being a foie ‘ho and I ate that, as well. Momentarily, I was concerned that my cholesterol was climbing off the charts, but then I thought, you only live once.

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My main was the smaller portion (still quite ample) of Joe’s signature porcini mushroom ravioli with wild shiitake and oyster mushrooms in a Parmesan broth ($18). The ravioli was unbelievable.

After all the foie, I took most of the ravioli home and the dish was just as good 2 days later.
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David’s dessert course was a caramel & corn…flavorful blackened corn custard with caramelized white chocolate, corn cake, vanilla ice cream, topped with popcorn.

You could also indulge in a milk chocolate ganache bar and pistachio gelato with fig gel.

I cannot believe how hard Chef Joe works. He never left the kitchen and was on the front line the entire time. You go, Joe!

Miller graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. He headed to Los Angeles,  working in several restaurants, including Los Angeles classics La Toque, Patina and L’Orangerie. He received his first recognition as a chef at Café Katsu in Los Angeles.

Chef Joe Miller
Chef Joe Miller

Miller says that his philosophy has remained the same since he opened his doors in 1991. He constantly strives to create innovative dishes in a warm, elegant atmosphere with reasonable prices.

Unless you only dine at what’s trending (boring), I would highly recommend heading to Joe’s for a lovely evening with exceptional food prepared by a well respected chef and his very competent staff.

Stroll Abbott Kinney afterwards and make it an interesting evening in Venice.

Joe’s Restaurant 1023 Abbott Kinney Boulevard Venice, California. Open Tuesday-Thursday 12-2:30pm and 6:00-11pm. Friday open 12-2:30pm and 6:00-11pm. Saturday 11-2:30pm and 6:00-11pm. Sunday 11-2:30pm and 6:00-10pm. Happy Hour All Night Sunday-Thursday. Street parking. Reservations on OpenTable.

One Comment

  1. Paula Lopez says:

    Nice! My kind of place!!!

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