Sometime over the summer J and I decided to try out a new location way down south. Joey’s Urban (JU) opened just recently and, having bought a Groupon ($15 for $30 worth of food!) J and I decided to spend the summery night eating out.
Their menu looks fairly simple and straightforward, but also delicious. J and I had no problem figuring out what to order with our $30. The decor was simple but modern, and service style was that of the fast-food/service fusion I’ve been seeing more and more. That is, you order at the front and grab a seat, and then a waiter/server will bring your food to your table. This format is actually pretty effective in a small setting (such as JU) and can make the customer feel a little more special despite the connotations that usually accompany fast food. I’m being served fast food? Great!
In the meantime, J and I placed our order and bought a Calypso lemonade. The contrast between the heat outside and the tang of the lemonade was oh-so-good.
Our order came pretty quickly with the sushi crab crunch coming first as an appetizer. Uh oh. We didn’t order the sushi crab crunch; we ordered the jalapeno shrimp. This was part one (remember that) of where JU proved that its customer service was over the top wicked good: they asked us if we wanted to keep the wrong order (since they’d just throw it out), ran back into the kitchen and then managed to get the right order just in time with the other dishes that came out sizzling hot.
I was already pretty impressed with their response to the whole situation, but I’m pretty sure that didn’t imbue the food with a halo effect. The sushi crab crunch (usually 7) had great texture: hard and crunchy but not overly-breaded but it totally lacked in flavour. Even wiping it in the mayonnaise that came drizzled over the whole dish didn’t do much to give it taste. Good texture, no taste. But hey, I wasn’t complaining because it was free.
The yam fries (5) came at the same time as the rest of the food and J and I really couldn’t resist eating those too. Ooh, they were so good. Fresh, light and crispy… and even later when they had cooled down they were still great.
Some time around this point, part 2 of JU’s great customer service happened shortly after our jalapeno shrimp reached the table. Another server apologized profusely for getting our order wrong and then offered us a free dinner! Holy cow. Free food and a free second dinner? I’m coming back, doncha worry. The manager also checked up on each table during other customers’ meals. The jalapeno shrimp (7) ended up being slightly oily but very fresh, served over a bed of also fresh fries.
After trying a little bit of every ‘appetizer’ (which was already enough to make us half-full), J and I decided to turn to the main dish before it got cold. We ordered two tacos (10 for any two): ahi tuna and Joey’s signature fish. What pleasantly surprised me was that each taco had a very different taste compared to the other, despite both being fish tacos. The ahi tuna was full of flavour; almost too full for me, because I found it salty, but the wasabi mayo balanced it out well. J loved the ahi tuna taco. Joey’s fish taco was less Japanese-style and more Greek-style with cilantro, tomato and cucumber chunks instead; I liked this one a whole lot more.
The tacos also came with fries, which could be upgraded to poutine (4 for upgrade). We upgraded and chose the bacon cheeseburger urban poutine; it was such a good choice. Packed with topping throughout, this poutine was made like a poutine should be, with melted cheese curds, pulled beef, tons of crumbled bacon and small chunks of tomatoes.
Honestly, the picture doesn’t do it justice. For a mere upgrade of $4 the size of the poutine was also unexpectedly huge; we now had fries, yam fries and poutine to contend with for the rest of the night. J and I ate as much as we could and still had enough fries to pack back into the poutine box, making for a very full doggy-bag (box?).
Even at full price (assuming the sushi crab crunch was still free since it was from a wrong order) I think JU was priced quite fairly for the amount of food that we received. Two tacos and an upgraded fries-turned-poutine would only set you back $14 and it’d be plenty for a couple to share. In this case $30 worth of food stuffed us very well and then some. Probably the only set-back (imo) was that almost all the food was deep-fried in some manner; the only exception was the ahi tuna taco. Other than that, JU was an excellent first experience.
11440 Braeside Drive SW
Calgary, AB T2W 3E5
Pros: Great customer service; here’s a shout out to Carly and Jordan for their friendly attitudes (I apologize if I’ve misspelt your name!). Food is decent, fairly tasty and portions are surprisingly filling.
Cons: Some tastes were off; for example, the sushi crab crunch. Unfortunate because I loved the crunch part but nothing else. Probably the biggest contention I had was that almost everything we ordered (and the majority of the menu) was deep-fried; if you’re Chinese you’ll understand when I say this is a major place for 熱氣 food. Be sure to drink a cooling drink or tons of water during and afterwards to avoid things like inflammations, sore throats, pimples and cankers.
Overall? Mmm. I really can’t wait until J and I come here again for another dinner. Until then, may all your fish tacos rest well within you (=