On both evenings I sat in the beautiful garden, it's the perfect setting for a summer evening. The menus are on large chalkboards by the entrance (so you can peruse while you wait to be seated), inside the restaurant and on boards in the garden, something they're missing at Liverpool House. Em and I allowed the waitress to recommend what we should have, with a couple of must try dishes in mind, she was bang on with her suggestions.
First thing I should mention is the lobster spaghetti ($30). It's one of their signature dishes, and Em and I were talking about it for days afterwards. Available in 2 sizes, we had the small to share and ate every last bit. There's a massively generous amount of lobster, I don't know how anyone manages the bigger portion, perfectly al dente spaghetti and the most amazing creamy sauce. It's one of the finest plates of food I've ever eaten.
We also tried a small double down ($17). This thing is insane. 2 chunks of deep fried foie gras with bacon, smoked feta and gravy mayo sandwiched in between. We were so glad we had the small because it's small but intense, a large would leave you feeling like a right greasy scumbag.
On my other visit, Craig, Sar and I tried the smoked meat croquetas ($12) which were brilliant (still not a patch on Barrafina though, holy grail croquetas, will never be bettered).
Also tried the smoked salmon plate, which was different....I wouldn't have ordered this to be honest, but again it was recommended and didn't disappoint. There was egg, I was immediately sold. Probably the most interesting and least guilt inducing plate of food I've tried here, accompaniments included mustard, dill and toast.
Ok now, both visits have included the tournados de cheval with emmentaler ($38). A massive horse steak and a cheesy sausage with horseradish. This dish is something else. I had reservations about eating horse, as it's so rarely eaten in the UK, and the whole 2013 horse meat debacle recently highlighted the nations outrage at the prospect at being duped into eating horsemeat. I liked it, I would probably rather eat a cow steak but I've had this twice and I'm not ashamed. You have to try these things, right?
We offset the horse meat with a lighter main of panfried fillet of trout with new potatoes and mussels. Probably the least memorable of everything I've tried but only because everything else is so outstanding.
The sides were also memorable, the simple green side salad with ham ($10) and the fries with aioli ($8) were both outstanding. We didn't finish either of course, nor did we have bread as we didn't want to fill up and not have room for afters.
Onto puds and this marjolaine classique ($10). A layered sponge with hazelnut cream and meringue. So so good. We knew we'd be beaten by dessert but had to have it anyway. Excuse the hideous photo, we'd retired to the outer garden by this point and were well into the wine.
Another dessert ordered was the pannacotta with prunes ($7). This one well and truly got the better of us and we had to admit defeat. Brilliantly creamy with a tartness from the fruit, everything you need in a sweet.
Final dessert I've tried was this amazing thing, a sort of eton mess, meringue, berries and cream. We'd asked to have the sorbet and eau de vie, daily changing flavours doused in a shot of your choice of booze. They were just making up a fresh batch of sorbet so they made this specially for us and we got a berry flavoured liquer to accompany. It was incredible, much better than a sorbet, so we really lucked out.
They have an incredible lengthy and pricey wine list, all the waiters are well versed in helping you select something good to pair with your food choices, the red we had wasn't great but the white was excellent. I'm no wine buff clearly but there's definitely enough choice there to please everyone. Mostly French, obvs.
The key to eating at Joe Beef is to remember everything is going to be brilliant, but massive, so order small portions where there's an option, share everything and accept that you'll leave reeeeeally full, and that's ok, don't deny yourself guys. I love Joe Beef very very much and will be returning regularly. The ambience, the service and, above all, the food are of such a high standard that it's easy to see why people regard this as one of the best restaurants in the world. I do too now. LOVE.
4291 Notre-Dame West