Boston >Food & Dining > Joe's American Bar & Grill
181 Newbury St, Boston, MA | Directions 0211642.350494 -71.079791
Sun 11:30am-10pm; Mon 11:30am-10pm; Tue 11:30am-10pm; Wed 11:30am-10pm; Thu 11:30am-10pm; Fri 11:30am-11pm; Sat 11:30am-11pm
Neighborhoods: Back Bay, Back Bay East
Medioca Restaurant – I ordered Nachos Grande to takeout....they were really bad...obviously they use cheap processed cheese, not graded real cheese...tasted awful....had the same experience with Nachos from there a few years ago...they apparently haven'g learned anything...
Not worth the money – I ate here recently with a large group, there was 14 of us, and was not impressed with the food. I ordered tuna sashimi and a side of sweet potato fries. The fries were yummy but the salad was only "eh". The portion side was extremely small and the price tag was large.
On a positive note, the wait staff was extremely attentive and accommodating. They even offered to split the check into smaller groups, which is always nice with a large group.
Great for drinks, bad for food – I've been to the new Joe's (Newbury and Exeter) a few times now since I live in the area. If you're looking for a drink with a view, Joe's is definitely the place. They have a large area with huge windows that can be taken out to let in the spring/summer air. It's great for people watching if that's what you're into. If you're going for food, however, I suggest going somewhere else. The menu choices are really boring, the food itself is not great, and the portion sizes do not justify the price. You're better off going to Cheesecake Factory for similarly priced items, slightly better quality, more food-per-dollar and definitely more menu options. If it weren't for the bar area, this would be a 1 or 2 star rating.
We love this restaurant – My son and I have been going to Joe's since he was 7 (he's now 21!) and we continue to love it. Generally, the service is not only professional and polite, but warm. In any restaurant, one may find the occasional dud server (reading other reviews), but this has nearly never happened at Joe's and, when it does, I've noted that the server is gone quickly. The menu is varied and really does have something for everyone looking for very well-cooked basic american food. The ribs are the best we've had anywhere (and we've looked!), the specials are often interesting and well-done, the burgers are also amongst the best (always checked on to insure proper done-ness). Any issues with the food are dealt with quickly and with genuine apologies from one of the managers (issues are rare) and one really feels "cared for" in this respect. Also important to us is that the environment is very diner-friendly. There are several rooms all with sound-absorbing features that mean relative quiet no matter where you're sitting. It's really nice to have tablecloths and heavy cutlery in a moderate-priced restaurant and the seating is very comfortable. It's our fall-back, go to restaurant, and nearly never disappoints.
Above Average! – Both of the Joe's American Bar & Grills in Boston (this one on Newbury, and the other on the waterfront) are great restaurants I highly recommend... and not just because of the delicious warm bread loaf they give you at the beginning of the meal (although that doesn't hurt! :) This one is a new addition to the city, and as it is located on Newbury Street, a popular shopping and dining street in Boston, it is a hot spot for both lunch and dinner.
While sometimes chain restaurants seem very "chain-ey" this one has fresh food that is anything but ordinary. There is a great variety of vegetarian dishes and dishes for meat-eaters, too. They have everything from gourmet salads to steak to turkey burgers.
My favorite part of the whole restaurant is the retractable roof -- so fantastic in the warmer weather, which is so welcome in Boston! It screams "relax here with a cocktail while you people-watch." Don't mind if I do...
Where everybody knows your name... – I like Amy. She's the blonde @ the upstairs bar that works during the week around lunchtime. I also like Kevin. He's the guy that comes on after Amy. I know that because they know I need a refill before I ask and they talk to me by name I will continue to go there, regardless of it being a chain.
See, I'm not a fan of chain restaurants; this one just has the service. And the new location. And pretty nice sitting out there in the sun with the retractable roof and windows this past week. It's even got more of a crowd than Stephanie's, which is surprising to me, but everyone's got their time to reign!
TIP: For a snack, I had the sweet potato fries. Perfectly salty and crisp! For drinkies, try the KJ Chardonnay (I ALWAYS fall back on this one) or something from their beer selection. Sam's on tap :) or enjoy a mojito or espresso martini @ happy hour. Hang around the upstairs bar.
Eat at Joe's – I've been eating at Joe's for years, because it really varies its lunch/dinner menu well enough to keep me coming back while keeping my favorites on. Example: french onion soup and burger au poivre. The soup is deep and rich and the cheese is crusted as it should be. The fully pepper crusted patty is one of my favorites in the city and the meat is juicy through and through. I get this almost every time. Whenever there is an issue, and Ive had instances where something went, wrong, management was quick to act, and the meal was comp'ed. Good food, good service, cant go wrong with that.
Worst Joe's experience ever w/ Darmouth Street – I ordered the Baked Chicken. I have eaten inside Joe's American Bar & Grill restaurants before, but this time I ordered through an online dining-in service. This may be the reason that my food was so ill-prepared. Below is the description of my meal provided by their restaurant.
"Fresh boneless half chicken with our special corn bread stuffing, creamy chicken gravy, cranberry sauce, and real mashed potatoes"
Fresh boneless half chicken - 50% of the half chicken was simply missing, above it lay a nice crispy later of skin, fat, and a flat piece of cartilege where there surely was once a hunk of meat attached. The only reason I point this out is because I have ordered this meal several times (from other locations) and never once seen such an incomplete half chicken. The portion of meat that was present was very rough and not appetizing at all. Nothing enjoyable, did not eat it. This chicken is also NOT fresh.
Corn bread stuffing - This part was fine but it does not comprise much of the meal
Real mashed potatoes - Yes, they are very real. In fact, they are so real that the chef apparently takes a potato, any potato, no matter what blemishes it has on it, grinds it up and calls it real mashed potatoes - skins, fungus, and all. There were several large pieces of black R0T (I used a zero in place of the o because that word is not allowed to be posted on this site) in the potatoes. One piece was as large as a quarter and about half a centimeter thick. I was eating these potatoes under dim light for a while but after noticing the color black, I decided to take a closer look and see exactly what I had been served. I closed up the tray and threw it out. Disgusting. I could do so much better than this poser restaurant.
Any restaurant that does not take care to serve good tasting food besides dumping a bunch of salt on it (classic Joe's style) is a scam. I gave my trust and my money to this restaurant and they failed miserably to provide a good meal. I cook everyday...I personally know its not hard to make sure the food comes out right. The chef's at Joe's are no more concerned about making good food than a fast food joint.
This restaurant is OVERRATED. I would have rather eaten a cheap burger from BK than the sh*t they served me.
Uncomfortable Experience for Parents – Went to Joe's yesterday for lunch. Had been there before so thought I knew what to expect (good comfort food, relaxed atmosphere). I have a 1-year old and, as happens, he had a few loud outbursts as learns how to use his voice. After one of these squeals, a young woman at the table adjacent to us got up and approached her server. It seems that our child and his voice were making her uncomfortable. That's fine - different strokes for different folks.
But, she proceeded to ask for the manager and demand that either she or we be moved to another area of the restaurant. Now I don't know what proper etiquette demands, but certainly not asking a family to relocate, especially at a place such as Joe's on a Sunday afternoon (this wasn't Mistral at 9pm on a Saturday!).
To Joe's credit, they did not, but they did cower to this young woman, sending over complimentary food and drinks upon being unable to move her. Seeing Joe's staff cower to this childish behavior left my wife and I feeling like we had done something wrong. This interaction also happened before we had been served so we spent the remainder of our meal on pins-and-needles.
I suppose this is bound to happen when you mix high-chairs with Newbury Street -- I just wish that Joe had been better able to identify who was the child in this situation.
Needs a revamp. – I have been here a few times actually it is the first place I ever ate in boston. I ate there again last night and the condition of the place has dropped a little and the menu hasnt changed in four years. Saying that I had the rib eye and it was fine. Athmosphere is only ok.
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