CLIFTON, NJ -
It is often that we see restaurant commercials on television with grilling steaks and sizzling pans filled with succulent seafood and fresh herbs that catches our attention, draws us to the screen, and entices us to want to go there right away. It is also a teaser when you quickly google the restaurant and the nearest location is in the next state. When I heard that Joe’s Crab Shack had opened in Clifton, NJ just 20 minutes from my house, I was ecstatic of a new seafood restaurant option other than Red Lobster & Legal Seafood that I could dine at.
As I arrived in front of the restaurant I smelled steamed shrimp tossed in Old Bay seasoning, immediately I began to salivate and it put me the mindset as if I was at the Jersey Shore. The restaurant had a beach theme with outside seating, dock props, loud music, and casually dressed staff. As expected, the line was outside the door which I didn’t mind because it was nice day out and the restaurant atmosphere put me at ease. Once I reached the host stand, the hostess promptly took my reservation on an iPad, retrieved my phone number, and informed me that I will receive a text once my table is ready, I thought that was pretty cool. After a 25 minute wait, I was taken to my table and greeted with a smile by my server Tiffany. She was very informative about the menu and made me feel welcome. Everything seemed normal until the “Cupid Shuffle” song came on and the entire staff around the restaurant stopped what they were doing and began to do the Cupid Shuffle dance, I thought it was hilarious! It reminded me of a scene from the Michael Jackson’s video “Thriller” or some sort of musicial. [Check out the video below and share a laugh with me!]
The menu was very extensive and everything looked fresh and flavorful. As I flipped through the drink menu, I was drawn into this interesting drink called “Coronita Rita”, a magarita made with el Jimador Blanco 100% Agave Tequila on the rocks, topped with an inverted Corona. I decided to try it out, as it arrived it was very messy and practically overflowing. I noticed that the longer the drink sat, the beer bottle emptied into the margarita, I wasn’t a fan of the flavors of tequila, beer, and salt mixed together. My interpretation was that the beer was capped and once I finished my margarita, then I would drink the beer. I sent it back and just settled for an Arnold Palmer [half lemonade / half iced tea]
Once my guest arrived, we decided on the Classic Sampler, which included a crab dip, crispy Calamari, and “Great Balls of Fire“. As your probably wondering what are “Great Balls of Fire”, they are shrimp, crab, and jalapeno balls that have a creamy filling with a spicy kick tossed in a Panko crumbs for a crispy crust. Once the sampler arrived the food was steaming with great flavors. The crab dip was Parmesan cheese encrusted with jumbo lump crab probing out of it, accompanied with warm tortilla chips. The calamari was surprisingly very good, seasoned well and tasted fresh off the shore. My preconceived notion with calamari in franchise restaurants are that they are frozen and slightly rubbery, but I’m glad Joe’s proved me wrong. After completing my appetizer I couldn’t wait for my Steampot entree.
I decided on the Joe’s Classic Steampot that is filled with tasty dungeness crab, sweet Snow crab, boiled shrimp, sweet corn-on-the-cob and smoked andouille sausage. As most know I don’t indulge in eating pork products so they gave me extra shrimp. You are given an option of flavors like BBQ, Garlic Herb, Old Bay to be put into your steampot. I decided on the Garlic Herb flavor. Due to the restaurant being very busy, it took a little while for the entree to come but yet the Cupid Shuffle dance kept me occupied and entertained. Once my steampot arrived , they gave me a “Crab Crackin” bib to dive in with. The crabs were succulently sweet and tender, which I dowsed in drawn butter. The shrimp was slightly overcooked yet still flavorful, but I wasn’t going to let that go to waste. All and all I was completely wowed with the freshness of the seafood that was in front of me.
I would recommend this to anybody who loves seafood, for non-seafood lovers they do have burgers and chicken options as well. This restaurant has a family friendly environment with fair prices. Joe’s Crab Shack will definitely be my summer local hangout spot for great seafood when I can’t get out to the shore!405 Allwood Road Clifton,NJ 07013 http://www.joescrabshack.com
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