When I was in my mid-20’s- way back in the 1970′s- my best friend and I visited Miami. If there were antics involved, I don’t recall. What I do remember is dining at Joe’s Stone Crab, a restaurant that was far too extravagant for our meager budgets. I knew it was a hot spot, however, and even more than thirty years ago that mattered to me. Stone crabs were foreign to us Marylanders, but we managed to navigate the logistics. When I learned that Joe’s was coming to DC, the memories came flooding back. Actually, these days memories come back as more of a trickle. But you know what I mean.
Joe’s Stone Crab has expanded over the years, with locations in Chicago and Las Vegas. A broader menu has necessitated a name change to Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab. The restaurant’s brand new DC location is both enormous and elegant. The 350-seat restaurant is located near the White House, in what was originally the Union Trust Bank Building. There is marble and mahogany, and white tablecloths, giving it a decidedly DC flavor. While the space feels formal, the menu includes casual options including fried chicken, fish and chips, burgers, and salads. As the name suggests, there is also an extensive selection of steak, seafood, and stone crabs flown in from the Gulf of Mexico.
I was fortunate to attend the opening event, along with nearly 1,500 other Washingtonians. The restaurant was packed, and it was difficult to get a real feel for the place, aside from the awe-inspiring space. But I stood in line (twice) for stone crabs, Alaskan king crab legs, ceviche, and more, and enjoyed everything I tasted. Although, I must admit that it’s a bit challenging to tackle stone crabs and red wine while standing. My appreciation grew for the crustaceans, however, after chatting to a former Miami resident who was ecstatic to be munching on stone crabs in DC. It was hard not to be swayed by her enthusiasm.
Joe’s has multiple options available for private parties, which has me racing back to the office the next day with the news. In the meantime, I look forward to returning to Joe’s in the near future. I’m ready to crack open the full menu, along with some more of those stone crabs.
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, 750 15th Street NW, Washington, DC
From Zagat DC: What’s the Deal with Stone Crab?