Saturday, May 1, 2010
I remember my first trip to Las Vegas years ago, bright eyed and when life was much simpler. I wanted to try the famous Stone Crab from Joe's. I walked up to the menu, glanced at the price and kept on walking. I didn't understand why it was expensive. Now, more experienced in dining out and more knowledge about food I find the stone crab claws to be a very decent price.
Joe's is located in the Caesar Palace Forum Shop which houses Beverly Hill's type of retail stores; including FAO Schwarz and The Planet Hollywood Restaurant, two companies that are almost extinct.
We arrived around lunch time without a reservation and asked the Maitre'D for a table outdoors. He said all the tables were reserved but we can return in 15 mins to check for availability. Lucky for us, there was a no-show and we sat "outdoors" in a mall.
Our server, middle age, ex-surfer from Santa Cruz, made our experience much more delightful. The service had the old school feel - white server uniform, napkin draped over the arm, friendly but also abrasive banter.
The bread basket arrived with an assortment of fennel flatbread, pretzel, rye, cheese roll and country bread. My favorite is their famous pretzel bread, a little salty crunch between bites. The bread basket is almost as good as Mesa Grill's selection.
Initially, we wanted a light lunch so we could snack at a few places but we never stuck to the plan. We began with the $34.95 (7 pieces) Medium Size Stone Crab. The Parrot Beaks were expertly cracked and I was able to pull the meat out unscathed. Creamy, fresh, sweet, dense and addicting.
The Stone Crab is served with two sauces - cocktail with grated horseradish and a creamy mustard horseradish. I barely used the sauces as I like to taste the natural flavor of the crab. A sliver bucket is ready to store the empty shells.
I asked how the $12.95 Colossal Lump Crab Cake was prepared. He replied, "all meat no filler." I was sold, the crab cake was indeed big chunks of Dungeness crab body meat. The bits of crispiness contrasted the tender texture.
The $11.95 4 piece Oyster Rockefeller came piping hot with lots of cream and spinach to trick the mind into justifying it being remotely healthy. The oysters were large enough to retain the integrity and pronounced.
Hoping to convince ourselves we wanted a light lunch we ordered the $15.95 Stone Crab Louis Salad. The salad had hearts of palm, tomatoes and chopped hard boiled egg. We were "crabbed" out with the salad since we already consumed the stone crab and crab cake. Nonetheless, it was still delicious with the crunch of the hearts of palm.
We really couldn't decide between the large selection of side dishes and it was an incentive Joe offered individual sizes. The $4.95 Cauliflower Gratin and $3.95 Mac & Cheese were really bland and too watery creamy, the portions were generous. The server agreed it wasn't their best side dishes.
The $3.95 Pan Roasted Sweet Corn was incredible! The corn is simply tossed with a good amount of butter in a hot cast iron skillet. Some of the kernels were blackened, almost reaching the popcorn flavor but still very crunchy and sweet.
Our server was attentive, funny and engaging. He was fast on the ice tea refills, and brought over hot towels with lemons twice. He also surprised us with a birthday brownie, even though it wasn't our birthday. He said it was an advance birthday dessert whenever our birthday happens. We were full but managed to finish the decadent brownie. We made a wish to hit the Progressive Jackpot...
Joe's Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crabs
The Forum Shop at Caesar's Palace
3500 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109