This is really tough for me. I am a professional writer of the seafood and restaurant industries, and I would love to support both. However, when I have had a meal as bad as I had this weekend at Joe's Crab Shack, I have to let the readers of Flavorful Excursions know about it.
I haven't been to a Joe's Crab Shack in a few years, so I was excited to try the crab (of course!) and see what was new on the popular chain's summer menu. Some of the new crab buckets, including Lobster Daddy Feast and The Bean Town Bake - two whole Maine lobsters, split and surrounded by clams, shrimp and smoked sausage - sounded great. However, I find both the Buckets of Crab and Steampots to be overpriced at between $22 and $30 each.
We opted for the grilled Lobster Daddy Feast, a mix of snow crab, lobster claw, corn, and potatoes. I have to say, the snow crab was tender and cooked to perfection. However, both the lobster and snow crab were extremely over-salted. I usually love to savor the sweet flavor of the lobster meat, but was unable to do so because of the extreme saltiness. The corn on the cob. Wow. Even though there is local Florida and Georgia corn available, I can't imagine that is the corn that Joe's uses. It is fairly flavorless - almost like it was produced in a factory - and under-cooked.
The next dish was worse, though. I ordered the Coconut Shrimp with a side of mixed vegetables. I am aware that it is fried food, but I have never had Coconut Shrimp that is just dripping in grease. It made the whole dish very unappetizing. The mixed vegetables were flavored well, but - like the corn - they were very undercooked.
In addition to salt overload, we suffered from sugar overload with Joe's mixed drinks. The new summer Twisted Cherry Limeade sounded so refreshing (and with Three Olives Cherry Vodka, how can you go wrong?). When I took the first sip, I knew I made a mistake; perhaps I should have picked up on the sweetness by the multitude of sickly-sweet maraschino cherries adorning the bottom of the glass. It was so over-sweetened, and didn't really need to be. I swiftly sent it back and decided to order the chain's regular Mojito. That would not be too sweet, right? Wrong! It's strange how I can order the mojito at other chains - Bahama Breeze, Outback, Applebees, etc. - and it does not taste like this.
After all these complaints, I do have one positive note: the staff was very friendly and helpful with questions on food allergies. And I love how all the waiters and waitresses danced to "At the Carwash". It made for a very fun atmosphere. I am sure some families love it, but I will not be going back anytime soon. Maybe I am missing something. What has your experience at Joe's been like? Post comments below.