The menu at Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar (formerly Navajo Joe) is right up my street; beer can chicken, mac ‘n’ cheese, wings and ribs – what’s not to like? When I was invited along to a preview evening to sample a selection of the dishes from the menu I couldn’t refuse.
The restaurant was a huge place and much bigger than I’d expected; there was a basement cocktail bar and a ground floor dining room with a mezzanine above it which is where we were seated. It was loud and noisy with a great atmosphere.
This was my kind of feast; two of each dish from the menu were brought to the table and shared (devoured) by all of us. From the starter section, Joe’s Southern fried chicken wings (£4.95) were great; succulent and moist with a herby batter coating. The little squeezy bottle filled with a tobasco honey sauce was so sweet it was addictive.
The slow braised beef brisket chilli cup with tortilla chips and sour cream (£5.95) was a rich and meaty treaty. Loading the crunchy chips with the thick beefy chilli and squirting it with sour cream was pure bliss. By this point I had very sticky fingers but it was worth it.
The corn and Monterey Jack rice balls with Cajun mustard and red pepper and onion salsa (£5.95) went down so well on our table that more were ordered. These were little balls of cheesy gooey rice coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried – need I say more!
My favourite main course by far was the 18oz BBQ beef short rib (£17.95) as it was any meat lover’s dream – I was just gutted I had to share it. The meat was so tender it cut using only a fork and was some of the finest slow cooked beef I’ve tasted in a long time. The accompanying whipped potatoes drizzled with chicken gravy were a great pairing. Proper comfort food.
The southern fried buttermilk marinated chicken (£12.50 for half a bird) was really good too. The chicken was moist and the battered skin was not at all greasy and really crunchy. It was addictively tasty.
A really interesting dish was the beer can chicken (£24.95) as it was something I’ve never seen done before. A whole bird with half a can full of beer shoved up it’s arse (the simplest way of describing it!) was brought to the tale and then taken away to be carved in the kitchen. My only criticism would be that they should have left the bird on the table and let us carve it ourselves as it was such an interesting thing to look at! Once drenched in the mini jugs of gravy provided it was really delicious chicken.
The mac ‘n’ cheese (£3.95) was as creamy and cheesy as you could wish for and would have only been bettered by the addition of a crunchy topping. The southern fried potatoes (£2.95) were crunchy little beggars which went particularly well with the chicken and gravy.
Out of the four puddings we tried, the key lime crumble with shortbread biscuits was my favourite. I love citrusy and creamy puds so this was always going to be a winner as it was exactly that. A crumbly biscuit topping added texture to the thick creamy concoction which was so decadent yet surprisingly light. Talking of decadence, the pecan pie with Jim Beam honey ice cream was particularly good too. Served more like a tart than a pie it was seriously sweet and full of nutty pecan goodness.
I guess I was slightly shocked by the food at Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar as I’d half expected a bit of a tacky tourist trap type of restaurant what with its Covent Garden location – but I was totally wrong. The food was delicious – far from healthy – but really delicious and the cocktails were brilliant too (and strong). Combine that with really friendly and enthusiastic staff and you can’t really complain. I’d gladly go back to sit and munch on that fried chicken and beef short rib. Yum!