Sunday, 4 August 2013

Southern Cooking @ Joe's

Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar opened last month, aptly on the 4th July, pure marketing genius in my opinion.
Previously known as Navajo Joe, which I never got to eat at, Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar is brining the authentic taste of the American Deep South to Covent Garden.
After receiving an invitation to pop along and sample some of their food, I immediately checked the menu and was hooked on the thought of trying their signature dish of Beer Can Chicken, a dish I love and used to cook regularly on and off the Bar-B-Q. Ahh those smoky hint of coals and spices, soft juicy flesh was one I was not going to pass up.

Spread over three floors with the basement having a cosy bar offering cocktails and snacks for those wishing to chill with the DJ vibes going on.

I sampled some good America craft beer from small brewers, yes it has been many a year since Bud passed my lips, and I’ve had arguments ever since as whether it constitutes being called a beer. During my second we went upstairs to sample some of their Southern delights.

Now up to this point I was set on sharing the Beer Can Chicken with my fellow diner, but after quickly whizzing through their menu, I saw Southern Fried Chicken. Sold, end of story, had to be, no if’s or buts, I was gonna have the fried chicken. Only dilemma was half or whole.

We also ordered as starters the Corn and Monterey Jack Rice Balls, which came with a Cajun mustard and a red pepper salsa and Slow Braised Beef Brisket, Chilli Dip, Corn Nachos and Sour Cream.
The brisket was the better of the two, nicely falling apart and juicy, the dip was nice and piquant and made the dish. The nachos were quite thin, but held their own with the brisket and dip on top. The sour cream came in a small plastic squeezey bottle that reminded me of the 70’s. Bit of retro going on here.
The corn and cheese balls really were so so after the piquant of the beef and needed some dosing in the homemade tomato sauce to perk them up a bit.
As I said I changed my mind, mainly I think because I saw the word share on the Beer Can Chicken, and I’m a greedy so and so and really didn’t want to.

So for mains we ordered the Deep South Barbecue Short Ribs that were slow roasted with Joe’s secret rub, a slaw and mash came with it as well.
As I mentioned it had to be the Southern Fried Chicken, which I was told were marinated for 24 hours in buttermilk and fried in a pressure fryer, a though that scares the living daylights out of me, but our waitress said it gave it a healthier crispier skin.

We were also informed that all their chickens are from Wild Acre Farm based in sunny Suffolk, barn reared in as much of a natural environment as possible.
The ribs were melt in the mouth good and literally did just that, falling easily off the bone, a nice chunk of meat that went down very easily. The slaw wasn’t a mustard based one, as I normally do but it was good enough. Can’t actually remember what the mash tasted like, but it was lump free.
My chicken looked the part, smelt the part and damn well tasted the part as well. The skin was dark and crispy and wow what flavour, it was damn good. Soft juicy flesh underneath, I begrudgingly gave up one piece for the beef rib, this kicked ass.

I also went for the Southern fried Potatoes as a side, but they lacked the crispiness I would have wanted. They were ok, but the chicken over shadowed them completely.
This was eat with your fingers, getting greasy, dipping in the bar-b-q sauce piece of heaven, never been to the South, but tried some fried chicken in Harlem and this matched that. Very good.

Our neighbours had the Beer can Chicken, which looked the part and the two ladies said tasted very good and they kept commenting on how juicy it was and how it was falling off the bone. The only thing I didn’t like, was that the waitress brought it over, showed it and then took it away to carve up into portions, if that had been for me it would have been, “hey, you leave that chicken here young lady, this is for me and my fingers to tear at, rip at and scoff down as is.” It’s how I do my beer can chicken, whether in private or public. Yes I’m a pig and I don’t care.
Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar ticked all the boxes for a great place in central London for some comfort Southern cooking. We need more variety of American food instead of just burgers and Joe’s adds more to an over saturated burger market, especially in Covent Garden.

Before I do go, one thing Joe’s makes its own Tomato Sauce and Bar-B-Q sauce, which isn’t for sale, but if you ask nicely as I did they will sneak you a bottle, the remains of the bottle are sitting in my fridge, so unless Joe is gonna send e some more, I’m gonna have to go back and order that Beer Can Chicken and ask for another bottle. 

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