The tie-dyed shirt said, Peace, Love and Crabs. It certainly got my attention. It was a long time before I had the opportunity to visit Joes Crab Shack, but I never forgot the brightly colored shirt.
When my birthday came around and I got to pick the place, I remembered the shirt and decided that I wanted one just like it. I had no idea what I would think of the restaurant.
My party gathered together and headed out to the Joes location in Mesquite, Texas. It was a bit daunting to get to the door at 6 pm and learn that we had a 45-minute wait. As we waited near the reception desk, we got to witness all sorts of oddities. I learned very quickly that I was likely to be publicly humiliated on the occasion of my birthday. I saw several folks that were made to stand up in their chairs and do all sorts of odd things because it happened to be their birthday. Some had to sing, some had to dance, but their special occasion was most definitely noted in an outstanding manner. Periodically, the wait staff would also pause and dance the Macarena.
The entertainment component was definitely in place before I ever tasted a thing.
As we waited, my party looked around at the pleasantly cluttered décor. There was an amazing amount of stuff to be found all over. We would sit there and suddenly someone would giggle and point to another amusing item found suspended from the ceiling or stuck to the walls. Most of the items have a sea-related flair ranging from skeletal shark jaws to heavy coiled ropes and funny little signs. The strands of Christmas lights were a bit strange.
We were finally seated by a pleasant and professional waitperson after 35 minutes and my group proceeded to evaluate the menu. I have never seen six adults have so much discussion about what to have for dinner. There are many choices on the menu and from what I can see, they are all good ones.
We started with appetizers, and agreed to get several things so that we could really sample the wares. There are about a dozen choices and we settled on the Crab Cakes, the Crab Balls, the Bucket o shrimp, the Stuffed Mushrooms and the Fried Calamari. It was all wonderful. The crab balls have the most wonderful flavor and a very pleasant consistency. The calamari was tender and flavorful. My favorite had to be the stuffed mushrooms. The stuffing is very similar to the crab balls but made with fresh seafood and cheese. I could easily make a meal just out of those and have gotten them every time I have visited Joes since.
The menu offers too many choices for my taste. It makes it hard to make a decision when there are so many offerings. Although I have not yet made my way through their menu, all the choices Ive made were wonderful.
Under the Heading Joes Favorites, Ive had the fish and chips, which are served piping hot. The quality of the fish was excellent and flavorful and the fries generous. The Popcorn Shrimp are indeed tasty little poppers and again the portion was generous. Ive also tried the Fish & Shrimp, which was similar to the Fish & Chips with the addition of fried Gulf shrimp.
I am somewhat of a purist, I dont go to a seafood restaurant to eat steak, and so Ive left that portion of the menu alone. What I have enjoyed the most frequently comes from the Famous Platters portion of the menu. Since I have such a hard time deciding what to have, I like the platters, which afford the option to sample a number of items. My favorite by far is the Fishermans Platter, which consists of fried popcorn shrimp, oysters, fried fish filet and crab balls. I have never been able to finish it all and usually have to bring home a doggy bag. Thats okay with me; it zaps very well in the microwave later! The cole slaw that comes with the meal is also very fresh and well flavored and I look forward to eating my husbands portion of that as well.
I never have room for dessert, although I once forced myself to attempt the Key Lime Pie. It was really good with a nice consistency, but I was too full to really appreciate it.
I didnt see it happen, but someone informed on me. The waitperson approached the table and announced loudly that it was my birthday. I wondered anxiously what humiliation was headed in my direction. Smiling, the waitperson announced to the world at large that I would sing Happy Birthday to myself. Loudly, I was instructed. I stood and if I say so myself, I performed with an enthusiasm I never thought possible. After polite applause, I was able to sit and attempt to finish the food left on my plate.
Overall, Joes is a pleasant dining experience. It is moderately priced, and a nice place for an occasion. I wouldnt take my whole clan there for an ordinary meal out because it can run into some big bucks with our large group. Ive had to wait every time Ive ever been there, no matter what time of day Ive gone. I think that is a testament to the fine dining experience afforded there rather than any fault of inadequate staffing. The wait staff I had were all VERY professional, attentive and lively. I think personality plus must be a requirement for hire there.
I also got the rainbow tie-dyed shirt with Peace, Love and Crabs on it. It is one of my favorites to this day.
Now if I can keep my daughters from flirting with the cute waiters!