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Brunch at Joe's - review

Sunshine Girl | Aug 15, 200512:54 PM

Let me preface this by saying I am not a huge breakfast person. I mean, I like breakfast, but it usually consists of grape nuts, some fruit and some soy. I'm not the type to have eggs, bacon, potatoes, etc. on most days. However, I love breakfast foods, so when I go out for such, I consider it a splurge and a rarity.

Friends of ours suggested Joe's for brunch, as a "cheaper" way to go and experience the food and setting. I had been to Joe's before with another friend (on expense account), and had a PHENOMENAL scallop dish. This was about 2 years ago. The food, service, everything - all outstanding.

Then there was Sunday.

When we first got there, it seemed that waiters A and B were tag-teaming our table, but in a duplicate fashion (being asked for drink orders twice, questions about the menu twice, etc.). Okay, so this is better than no attention, so I'll let that one slide. No score yet.

We were seated with our friends on the back patio - which is truly lovely. There's a beautiful stacked stone water feature, not too many tables, and it's just very nice out there - though it can get loud. For the setting, on a scale of 0 - 10, we'll give them 9 points. Score: 9

However, the tables were kind of close to one another, and the numerous busboys attending to all the tables with fresh toast and banana bread proceeded to bump me and my chair about 5 times, without so much as a "excuse me." Hmm, not thrilled about that. On a scale of 0 - 10 on the cramped factor, we'll give them a 1. Total score: 10

Server A asked if we were ready to order, and we weren't quite yet, but proceeded to recite the specials....then server B came by about two minutes later, recited the specials, and asked if we were ready to order. We pretty much said screw it, and ordered away.

The brunch options range in price from about $10 - $17 each, and come with your choice of a fruit salad with spiced yogurt, the soup of the day, salad or granola.

My S.O. and the other man at the table chose the burrito with turkey sausage, guacamole and sour cream, and the fresh fruit with spiced yogurt to start. The other lady at the table opted for the pancakes, eggs, and applewood smoked bacon, but staring with the soup du jour (carrot). And me, since I haven't had it in a while, I went for the french toast with fresh strawberries and a strawberry sorbet, also starting with the fruit plate.

Mind you, this was pretty much the last we saw of servers A or B. Bad bad thing. I was once a server. Everyone at the table waited tables at some point. Pet peeve of the group. Score for service on a 0 - 10 scale - 2. Total score: 11.

Now onto the food. The fruit plates arrived, as did the carrot soup. Friend loved the carrot soup. With the fruit plates, there were some huge incosistencies. My S.O. didn't have any of the tart grapes that our other two plates were garnished with. And the yogurt sauce - miniscule dollop at best on both mine and the other gent's plate, and not even on my S.O.'s plate. He doesn't like to complain though, so let it slide. Nothing spectacular about this dish, though the lacking of the yogurt on my S.O.'s plate did irk me. Score for first course fruit salads - 2. Total score: 13.

Then onto the main dishes:
The pancakes, eggs and bacon - perfect, according to my friend. The pancakes were light and especially fluffy. The eggs, she said, incredibly fresh, and really tasty (for scrambled eggs, not really sure how you mess them up). She loved her dish, and for $10, with the soup. Not bad. For her, her meal got an 8 out of 10. Total score: 21.

My french toast was crispy along the thick crust, and soft on the inside. The strawberry sorbet was really tasty - though putting something that cold on french toast seemed to chill it all out too fast. Then, the "fresh strawberries," not so, not so. Either that or they were once fresh, someone mixed them all in a bowl with sugar three days ago, and the strawberries became all macerated and mushy. I'm a purist at heart when it comes to fruit, and this made me sad. It they had just had fresh sliced strawberries, it would have been so much better. Overall, I'd give my meal a 4 out of 10. Total score: 25.

I'll interject here and say that the busboys were great. Asked if we wanted more of the complimentary bread, refilled our waters when they were only half empty, etc. For the busboy service, we'll give them another six points. Total score: 31.

The boys and their burritos. BIG burritos. On portion size, they were happy. (though they wished they came with potatoes or something). These burritos were supposedly filled with turkey sausage, eggs and beans. There was a copious amount of sausage, some beans, and not all that much in the egg department. And the flavor - kinda blah. Sour cream and guac adorned the top, and I kid you not - the guac looked and tasted like the already made kind you buy in the refrigerated section of Ralphs. No, not a gelson's fresh guac, or even trader joe's, just that super bright, gross green guac. Blech. The one friend loved his, my S.O., said based on his meal, "No desire to ever return." For my one friend, for his meal, he'd say about a six out of 10. My S.O. would give it a three out of 10. Total score: 40.

So that makes it 40 out of a possible 90 points, in our humble opinion. I really wanted to like everything about Joe's again, but I just wasn't really impressed. I did love the outdoor setting, did not like having my chair bumped incessantly, and hope waiters A and B can figure it out soon!

Our total for the four brunch items, two "adult beverages" (what's brunch without an $8 bloody mary?), and a hot tea, befor tip, came to $76.

My suggestion - head to Joe's for brunch for the setting. Maybe the more "lunch-like" items are better than the breakfast ones, or it's best just to stick with the fresh scrambled eggs. But for $10, I'll just make some eggs at home. About four dozen eggs for that price.

P.S. - link to Joe's site seems to only include their former fall menu - so prices have gone up a few bucks for brunch compared to what you see here.

Link: http://www.joesrestaurant.com/

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