Optimistically Cautious

Friday, April 20, 2007

Battle of the Big Three: Joey Tomatoes

As we didn't have time for their famous apple pie last week, Dickson and I headed to Joey Tomatoes downtown (11228 Jasper Avenue) after work today to satisfy his craving.

As those who read my blog using an aggregator know, I am writing this post much later than the date stamp indicates. As such, I have had the opportunity to visit Joey's a second time before drafting this review, and my opinion has changed slightly in that time for the better.

Besides menu offerings, Earls, Moxie's and Joey's - Edmonton mainstays of casual upscale dining - are indistinguishable between their use of dim lighting, dark wood, pulsating music, and club-ready hostesses. Of the three, I prefer Moxie's simply for their food selection - they have more dishes that I tend to gravitate towards on a day to day basis. I will say, however, that I like the downtown location of Joey's better than the South Common branch - the table lamps and cozy booths create the feeling of a private dining experience.

On my first outing, I insisted on "real food" to supplement Dickson's pie, so I thought the Bombay Butter Chicken was worth a try. Though I didn't expect an authentic meal, I did hope for more than what was essentially curry soup that happened to contain chicken. The sauce was indeed flavourful, but between the inconsequential pieces of meat and bok choy (which had been rendered limp and wilted in the concoction), it wasn't an enjoyable dish. The accompanying rice was all right, but why the peas weren't in place of the bok choy was beyond me.

As for the (drumroll) apple pie - on my second tasting, I can appreciate why it is so well-loved. The puff pastry really is the secret, though quite frankly, anything wrapped in puff pastry would taste better. If Dickson was a blogger, he'd have posted about the fact that I challenged the difficulty of making the pie at home. So perhaps when I have exhausted all of the other recipes I have lined up in my culinary queue, I will try my hand at this pie.

As I mentioned above, my most recent experience at Joey's was an especially positive one. Having come in from the rain that night and feeling vulnerable to a cold, I requested a mug of hot water. Perhaps it is standard practice, and I shouldn't have been as floored as I was, but the accompanying slice of lime (a la Neocitrin) was an unexpected service-oriented touch. It may have been psychological, but I didn't end up developing a cold.

Regardless of their intention, I am warming up to Joey Tomatoes. If they retool their menu, they may bump Moxie's off the top of the big three!

Bombay Butter Chicken

Apple pie!

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Anonymous Mack D. Male said...

I find the portion sizes at Moxie's to be much smaller than the other two.

Anyway, looks like Earls has the most awards!



And I can't link to Moxie's because they are idiots who built their entire site in Flash. Way to break the web Moxie's!

Seriously though, I still can't understand how you can choose between the three...as you said, they are all so similar. If you like one, I fail to see how you don't like the rest. Seriously, I bet I could blindfold you and give you food from any of the three and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference!

April 28, 2007 at 5:03 PM  

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