1601 Ruth Street, Sulphur
Joe’s is back!
OK, to be fair, Joe’s Pizza and Pasta has been back for a little while now. After 6 months, with hurricane recovery repairs sufficiently completed for a to-go operation, it was going to be the better part of a year before Joe’s would open the inside to allow customer dining. We finally had the opportunity to visit.
With my wife and I both having after-work commitments, we agreed to meet at Joe’s for dinner afterward. With perfect timing, we each stepped out of our vehicles simultaneously and made our way to the front door.
As we walked inside, many things hit us at once. First, there was the aroma. It had the notes that only a fresh baked pizza has, and it filled the air — the aroma of garlic, oregano and pizza crust in the final bake. Then, there was the visual. Completely redesigned and updated, the venue still retained a rustic décor that provided a casual atmosphere. The once small and hard to use bar has been relocated to the back of the main dining room, where it is appealing and much more inviting.
Even for a mid-week evening, the dining room was fairly well occupied. My wife and I opted for a booth as we took a moment to catch up with each other.
Our server Samaya placed hot, fresh rolls in the center of the table, offering drinks as we read through the new menus. Although the design is new, the menu had the same tasty dishes we’ve become accustomed to, along with a few new additions.
We chose to skip a traditional appetizer and began our meal by requesting a dipping oil. Olive oil, herbs, spices, Parmesan cheese and a generous amount of garlic served in a ramekin added a level of pizzazz as we tore off pieces of bread to dunk and enjoy.
My wife chose a chicken Caesar salad; it featured a large bed of fresh Romain lettuce, Caesar dressing and parmesan, and was topped with an abundance of juicy grilled chicken.
As it had been quite some time since my last visit, I kept bouncing back-and-forth between my dinner options. It wasn’t an easy choice to make. From the Tour of Sicily — a trio of Italian favorites, including lasagna, chicken parmesan, and shrimp Alfredo — to veal parmesan, I finally opted for Pasta Della Casa. It featured a thin grilled chicken breast and large tail-on shrimp with sautéed mushrooms and peppers in what is described as a pink cream sauce tossed in ziti, or the pasta of your choice. This robust dish packs a lot of flavor and heat in a savory sauce that’s not too thick. Regarding the portions, Joe’s does not skimp in any sense. Neither of us could finish our plates, which left plenty for the next day’s lunch and room for dessert.
Cannoli and tiramisu were both available; we chose the former. We ate the crispy fried cylinder filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and mascarpone — providing a rich yet subtly fluffy center — and dusted in powdered sugar with a drizzle of chocolate to finish our evening.
Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t order one of Joe’s famous pizzas? The pizza is my all time go-to at Joe’s, and in all transparency, it is easily one of my Southwest Louisiana favorites. However, I really wanted to try something different tonight.
As busy as the restaurant was, our service from Samaya was always on point, friendly; she often checked with me and my wife for our needs. We are glad to see Joe’s back in action.
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