Cost: Variable depending on what kind of lunch you're looking to have (stone crabs and steak can get kind of pricey). If you're going for sandwiches and salads though you'll probably run around $20 per person.
My sister Lisa is just about done with her fourth year of medical school, and she recently had her match day. For those of you who don't know, match day is where you get placed into a program for residency. It's an excellent cause for celebration, and Lisa's school had a big brunch party where the class got to open up their match letters together. Afterward my family kept the party going by grabbing lunch at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab (not to be mistaken for the corny crab shack that has those goofy commercials).
I'd like to preface this post by saying that my family has been to Joe's a ton of times. I think it says it all that we've chosen to go here for so many of our major celebratory occasions. It's easy to say that Joe's is one of the best seafood and steakhouse spots in Chicago. That being said, I'd never been to lunch before which is what this post will solely cover. I'm sure I'll be back at Joe's for dinner very soon, and I'll write a post accordingly.
Joe's is broken down into two main areas with a bar room up front separated from the large dining room behind. They also have an upstairs private seating area for parties and such. For dinner you'll need to make reservations way in advance (weeks), but for lunch you can probably just walk in. When we got there it was crowded but not without a few open tables.
The service at Joe's is fantastic and possibly too good. Our waiter knew everything there was to know about each dish. Not only did he know what was in everything, but it all came with a thorough explanation. At one point we got a run down of broccolini (which we all knew about, but our server was on such a roll we didn't want to stop him).
Like I said before the cost is pretty variable. You can get an order of crab in the $50 area if you'd like. They also have a few steak choices around $25. The lunch menu seems to focus on some sandwiches, salads, and fish choices that run from $12 to $18. Finally, if you're in the mood for pie (like we were) then that'll cost around $6 a slice.
We started things off with the Seafood Chopped Salad and an order of the Manhattan Clam Chowder. The salad had large chunks of shrimp, crab, and lobster. The dressing was subtle and really let the seafood stand out. My dad really loved the clam chowder. It had large chunks of clams and the red broth had a nice consistency without being too thick.
The Seafood Chopped Salad
The Manhattan Clam Chowder
For our main dishes my mom got the Hamburger, my sister got the Scallops, and I got the Beef Tenderloin sandwich. The burger was pretty classically done and cooked to the proper specifications. The Scallops had a nice buttery, crispy exterior and a soft inside. The tenderloin wasn't really what I expected because it came on two mini sandwiches, but I didn't feel short changed on meat. The horseradish dipping sauce gave things a real nice kick too. Also, I got the onion strings subbed in for french fries, and I'd highly recommend the move. For the table we got an order of the Mushroom Mac n' Cheese. It was on the richer and creamier side with shells. The best part was that there were some burnt cheese pieces on the edges that had a real nice flavor and texture.
The Beef Tenderloin Sandwich
The Mushroom Mac n Cheese
Now you can't go to Joe's without ordering some pie for dessert. We got a slice of Key Lime and Banana Cream. Both of these pies set the gold standard for me. The key lime had a natural color (not green), strong lime flavor and a beautiful graham cracker crust. The banana cream had large chunks of bananas and a scrumptious custard filling. Steve Dolinksy recently said that Fish Bar has better key lime pie, and if so then it must be freaking awesome because Joe's has it down pat.
The Key Lime Pie
The Banana Cream Pie
Joe's is probably a pearl necklace or close to it for dinner, but this review is only referring to their lunch (which is also very good). It's surprisingly reasonably priced and accessible (especially relative to dinner). If you want a quick sandwich or salad and a slice of pie I don't think you'll find a better option in the area. I'm giving Joe's (lunch) 4 out of 5 Pearls.