Joe’s has long been a standard bearer on Abbot Kinney, serving farmer’s market driven California fare well before boites like Gjenlina or Tasting Kitchen sprung up and stole some of its thunder.

The Monster hasn’t visited in a while due to service that was less than stellar on a previous outing but a return trip is in the offing.  Will the food hold up now that there is competition down the street?

The simple answer is yes.  A prix fix lunch of appetizer, entree and dessert is offered for $19 and given the quality of ingredients and the execution of the kitchen it is a steal.

The Monster starts with the crab and shrimp salad.  It’s not a huge portion but is a lovely way to dive into a meal.  Fresh seafood simply prepared is always a good idea.

The entree is the shrimp risotto-sofrito, pepitas and pistachios and their oils, sauce American.  From the first bite past service issues are forgotten and mental promises are made to frequent Joe’s more often.  It’s a nice size portion, neither too large to leave any behind nor too small to be wanting more.

Some days there may be a bouillabaise on offer, others may feature braised lamb shoulder or California sand dabs-avocado and cherry tomatoes, pink Maine shrimp and chive nage.

The dessert course is decadence.  It’s a rich chocolate bomb with accompanying ice cream and it’s huge.  Like a  school kid The Monster decides he must finish it in spite of its size and richness.  In fact, The Monster calls out to no one in particular this plan with a sly grin adorning his face as if he’s just committed a petty crime of which he is quite proud.

On this day, fully sated, the service is proficient enough though The Monster is initially annoyed to stand several minutes at the hostess stand with two people behind the bar blithely ignoring this fact.  From around a corner comes the hostess, now a full line waiting to be seated.

The main dining room could use an update, it feels like many of Wolfgang Puck’s older establishments, still clinging to the days when this look was fresh even as it should be retired to pasture.  The back patio however retains its charm.

Why go?  You could spend $19 at lunch at McDonalds.

Monster rating: 4/5 Monsters

1023 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291

(310) 399-5811⁠

Joe's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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