“Eat at Joe’s” was a running joke in the classic Warner Bros. cartoons as the classic generic diner food advertisement. The phrase has become associated with the distinction between the “Mom and Pop” and the soulless chain restaurants. But there is no place in Miami with greater soul than the 97-year old Joe’s Stone Crab. A massive place with dark wood and tuxedoed waiters, you immediately know you’ve entered somewhere that memorable dining experiences happen.
Unfortunately for the average “Joe,” part of experiencing the mystique is enduring the wait for a no-reservations table— it can take longer than the flight from New York. The only way to avoid it is to grease the maitre’d‘s palm or bring a VIP. Thankfully, yours truly is the latter (though I did slip a $40 on the way out and promised reciprocal treatment the next time he visits my friends at Scarpetta).
Joe’s has a massive menu with every imaginable seafood and meat choice, plus an endless selection of apps, sides and desserts. Given that you may be famished after waiting, here are some tips to narrow down the menu and get right down to eating. There are three items to order for the ultimate experience: Stone Crab Claws (jumbos, if available, nothing smaller than large), Hash browns, and Key Lime Pie.
The claws come with Joe’s signature and oft-copied, but never-duplicated mustard mayonnaise sauce. They offer drawn butter for Yankees, but you should stick with the mustard mayo. The only thing that can distract from the sweet fresh coral-colored, precision pre-cracked crab claws are the greatest hash browns known to man. Better than any steakhouse in New York, they set the standard. They’re even better than the Prime Rib Hash at Keen’s. End the meal with the not-too-sweet, not-too-tart Key Lime Pie with a graham cracker crust that should be the bottom of every pie.
Joe’s is a can’t miss institution. So when in Miami always remember and never forget: Eat at Joe’s.
: Stone Crab Claws (jumbos, if available, nothing smaller than large), Hash browns, and Key Lime Pie.