Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spring has sprung at Joey Restaurants

Spa Cosmo
I have to admit that it’s been years since I had visited a Joey Restaurant. Even though I live only three blocks away from one, with the plethora of new restaurants opening up in Edmonton, I’ve been busy exploring what’s new and trendy and had almost completely forgotten about what used to be an old favourite.

Mezze Plate
Joey Restaurant, based out of Vancouver, has locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, as well as Seattle, Washington. They’ve recently launched their spring menu, which includes refreshing some of their favourite menu items such as cheeseburger sliders and 500 salad. They also added some lighter items such as the mezze plate and the rotisserie chicken and pancetta club. As well, they’ve started a new wine on tap menu, in additional to their whisky on tap menu - both programs that have piqued my interest enough that I’ll be back to check out their on tap offerings! It was also interesting to learn that all of the juices used in their cocktails are made in house and prepped to order, as I sipped a lovely spa cosmo made with fresh lime juice, muddled cucumber and rum.

Korean Fried Cauliflower
Their mezze plate consists of one of my favourite new discoveries, Macedonian feta which was rich and is not briny like traditional feta. The tzatziki was bright and refreshing, with surprisingly light and crisp house made pita chips.

Although I’m not a cauliflower fan by any means, the Korean fried cauliflower which was breaded in tempura, tossed in a sweet and spicy korean chili miso, then topped with sesame seeds had the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. Although the Korean chili was hotter than I’d like, when the lime was squeazed over it, it helped to cut through the heat.

500 Salad
I was curious as to how much Joey Restaurants made in house versus provided by a commissary kitchen. Generally utilized by chain restaurants, commissary kitchens tend to process things like soups, sauces, and other menu items (eg. ravioli) that can be partially made, frozen, then shipped to the restaurant to “finish” to order. Restaurants utilize commissary kitchen for a variety of reasons, one of which I’ve been told is to help maintain consistency of menu items across a chain. When asked about Joey Restaurants and commissary kitchens, Chef Jason Gulliford said they used to use one to make soups. However, they realized that by having a commissary kitchen make their soups, it actually become more expensive to ship the more locations they opened. As well, they were doing a disservice to their chef apprentices by taking away a valuable learning opportunity. So now they have brought soup making back into their local kitchens, giving the apprentices the chance to learn how to make things themselves.
Blueberry Mojito

Their blueberry mojito was dangerously delicious, as it was effervescent, refreshing, and didn’t taste of alcohol. It is not surprisingly, Joey Restaurants most popular drink.

One of my favourite dishes of the night was their refreshed 500 salad - named for the number of calories in their full sized version. They switched out what used to be barley with wheat berry to give it more mouth feel and bite. Consisting of quinoa, raw vegetables, almonds, mint, parsley, avocado and watermelon radish, the salad was light with just a hint of acidity, and a variety of textures with each bite, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting salad to eat.

Lobster and Prawn Ravioli
However, the most enjoyable dish of the evening - other than dessert - was the lobster and prawn ravioli. The ravioli was filled with shrimp, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, artichoke and spinach. Finished with a lobster cream sauce, it was rich, creamy and hearty, the type of dish you’d want to eat on a rainy spring evening.

Although I am definitely no fan of key lime pie, in fact, it’s the one dessert I’ve never ordered, the key lime pie at Joey Restaurant was enjoyable. I didn’t find it too citrusy like many I’ve tried and the whip cream mellows out the lime flavour. Great for someone who is not a fan of key lime pie, but maybe not so much for someone like my male human who loves it.

Molten Lava Chocolate Souffle
Naturally being a chocolate lover, I was a big fan of the molten lava chocolate soufflé topped with vanilla bean ice cream. The chocolate itself was runny, dark, and rich without being too sweet, while the ice cream was the perfect thing to eat the runny molten center with.

Overall, I enjoyed the new spring menu at Joey Restaurant and would definitely visit again.

Joey Restaurant
9911 19th Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB  T6N 1K9
Twitter: @JOEYRestaurants

Joey on Urbanspoon

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