To Los Angeles … With Love … From CanadaJOEY DTLA • Los Angeles, California
Delicious Cuisine For Everyone • Visited July & August 2021
Subscriber Garrett hit another one out of the ballpark with his recommendation for JOEY DTLA, our latest favorite restaurant. Garrett was the one who sent us to Hippo, Dama and Bavel. He should join our team, although he would need to keep his day job, as this website is what I jokingly refer to as non-profit! We have been to Joey three times in the last month! It’s that good.JOEY DTLA is a chain from Canada (numerous locations), which has been expanding slowly into the United States. There are currently three restaurants in Southern California, including this one in downtown Los Angeles. The restaurant is well-located if you work downtown or are attending an event at nearby Staples, but if you aren’t familiar with the area, be cognizant of the transient population near the area. JOEY is also easily accessed by the metro system, with a stop only a two-minute walk away.Modern and airy with patio dining the restaurant is located on the corner of 7th and South Flower on the edge of THE BLOC (a very cool “open-air urban center encompassing a full city block” that features everything from live music to shops to food and drink, which includes JOEY)If there is a perfect layout of a restaurant, JOEY is nearly there. It features “the largest street level patio in downtown Los Angeles”, and a “theatre kitchen.”
The dining room is spacious and its open layout makes for very comfortable dining. As JOEY’s president says, “You’ll come for the food and drink and stay to enjoy the friendly service and ambiance.” It has a great bar area, too.From the moment we first entered JOEY. on all three visits the staff has been top notch. In our opinion, it is the BEST staff we have encountered this year, or any year for that matter. Our most recent server told us everyone wants to work for Joey, and it shows in the impeccable service.
On to the food. As stated, we have dined here three times, once on a Sunday afternoon after going to LACMA (review to come later), the second time for lunch on our wedding anniversary after going to the nearby Grammy Museum. Here’s what we have tasted thus far on our three trips here:
JOEY’s Roasted Corn Guacamole; cilantro, fresh lime, cherry tomatoes, Serrano chiles, feta cheese and served with warm tortilla chips, was a great start. This went well with the burn-your-face-off and numb your lips Mezcal cocktail with Serrano chiles that I ordered (mezcal, grapefruit liqueur, lemon, grapefruit, cane syrup, and lip smacking Serrano chiles). Despite not being able to feel my face (slight exaggeration), this was a delicious, refreshing cocktail. Really!
Next up were the Sliders Royale; mini burgers with secret sauce and American Cheese (3 on a plate). These were really good and made me want to try the Hand-Pressed Burger sometime.We also ordered the Tuna + Avocado Roll; chili mayo, micro cilantro, tempura crunch and teriyaki glaze. Another Wow!Garrett said we missed out by not ordering the Pan-Fried Gyoza and Korean Fried Cauliflower, so we returned after our visit to the Grammy Museum with friend Jeff (with the name Joey, you should come with Friends) to try more dishes for lunch.
To start we ordered the Pan-Fried Gyoza; pork dumplings with hot mustard (Wow!) and the Szechuan Chicken Lettuce Wraps, sweet soy ginger glaze, peanuts, crispy wontons, spicy aioli … also sensational.
At our server’s recommendation, we also ordered the Seared Salmon Sushi; Osaka pressed, fire torched salmon, umami sauce and shaved Serrano peppers (Wow!).
We must have been starving because we proceeded to order the Spaghetti Pomodoro with Calabrian chili spiked tomato sauce, whipped ricotta, fresh basil and parmesan with a wedge of garlic toast. Tracy and I shared this dish. It was also very good, and it sure did photograph nicely, too.
The server said her favorite dish was the Cajun Blackened Chicken; full breast of chicken served over a warm potato and bacon salad with creamy coleslaw. Wow! She was right. Perfectly cooked with fabulous flavors.
Hard to believe but we managed to squeeze in a dessert on this visit sharing the Individually Baked Apple Pie with toasted almonds and Tahitian vanilla ice cream.
It was another stellar visit topped off by a treat by one of our servers. We asked him what that colorful drink that passed by was called. Not only did he tell us, but he brought over a small glass of The Real Peach Bellini; Appleton Estate Signature Blend rum, real peach molasses, sparking wine, sangria, to try out. It turned out to be great salesmanship on our server’s part, because Jeff ordered one for Tracy and himself.
We returned once more for dinner, specifically to try the steaks which are JOEY’s specialty. But first, we squeezed in the Garrett-recommended Korean Fried Cauliflower, and it was great. It tastes nothing like cauliflower due to the terrific sweet spicy Korean chili miso paste coating the cauliflower. Yum!Tracy went with the Steak + Sushi which was a tataki-style USDA prime steak in ponzu sauce with a small Tuna + Avocado Roll (8 pieces).I ordered the JOEY Classic Steak and upgraded to the 7 oz. filet mignon for $13 extra. The steak came with crispy mashed potatoes, which unbelievably are even better than they sound; mashed potatoes with onion, cheese and bacon rolled into an egg roll wrapper and then deep fried. Yes! The server said JOEY’s owner saw a similar dish on Top Chef and developed the recipe for the restaurant. It also came with fresh asparagus, which somehow ended up on Tracy’s plate.I have to say this was the best steak we have had all year, and possibly the best since that great ribeye steak we had at Hippo a couple of years ago. I tasted Tracy’s prime steak and it was just as delicious. Perfectly seasoned and cooked. As for my crispy mashed potatoes, well let’s just say we are going to try and replicate this dish at home.Cheers!The menu at JOEY is vast and there are plenty of items we have yet to try. The prices seem a little steep, but I think that is going to be the new trend post-Covid. And with food this good, in my opinion it is well worth the splurge.
(Mai Tai Tom Tip: Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. every day with reduced price drink and menu items. It’s also a good way to sample some of the menu.)
In three outings, we have yet to have a bad dish. We even haven’t had a dish we wouldn’t order again. Right now, JOEY DTLA is the front runner in Mai Tai Tom’s 2021 Restaurant Of The Year (back after a one year Covid hiatus). As far as we’re concerned, JOEY is the best export from Canada to the U.S. since maple syrup.
Mai Tai Tom Rating: 4.8 Mai Tais (out of 5)
700 West 7th Street (in THE BLOC)
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Monday – Sunday 11 am – 10 pm
Metro: 2-minute walk from 7th Street/Metro Center Station
Parking: Lots of expensive parking lots in area: These two are best options:
JOEY DTLA provides Retail Customer Parking validation rates at The Bloc for guests. Standard self-parking rates with validation are a$1 for 1st hour, $2.50 for 2nd hour, $4 for 3rd hour
Option 2: 830 South Flower Street ($5.00 Flat rate on Fri/Sat,/Sun after 5 p.m. ($5) Just a short two-block walk to JOEY.