Joes Stone Crab

11 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, 33139, United States

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Miami was founded in 1870, so to have a restaurant still operating today that was set up in 1913 is quite an achievement. Joe’s Stone Crab obviously specialises in the local stone crabs, which when caught have one claw removed and then thrown back; after about a year the claw fully regenerates, a rare example of fishing which is not fatal to the seafood in question. The restaurant follows the crab season, and closes May 15th through to October 15th each year (though they are pondering breaking with tradition and opening a bit this summer).

The restaurant itself is almost at the very south end of Miami beach, a little away from the bustle of Ocean Drive. It has a couple of attractive courtyards, and a very traditional dining room with lots of dark wood in evidence. I took advantage of the set lunch menu, which at $31 was a bit of a bargain; the a la carte has starters mostly in the $14 range, with main courses around $20 - $38. The wine list, to my bemusement, had no vintages listed, which makes it hard to judge the mark-up levels. Kistler Les Noisetiers was $135, which is typically priced between $70 - $100, for example. Caymus Conondrum was $48 for a wine that typically costs $22 - $25, depending on vintage.

Coleslaw was rather acidic, served with a couple of slices of tomatoes (11/20). However the stone crabs themselves were excellent, a trio of claws with fresh, sweet crab meat. This is tricky to mark, just as is sashimi, since after all there is a limited amount of intervention from the kitchen, but the crab itself tasted very good (15/20). Hash browns with this were ordinary and under-seasoned, but creamed spinach was decent enough (11/20).

I was pleasantly surprised by Key lime pie, which can easily be a lurid cliché, but here had a nice base and well-balanced filling (14/20). Service was friendly if brisk, and indeed in the evenings long lines form (no reservations are taken). What I liked about this place is that it delivered what it set out to do i.e. put in front of customers very fresh, good quality local produce, and as a bonus managed a good pie. It would be easy to write this place off as touristy but this was actually as enjoyable a meal as I had on this trip to Miami.

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  • alex

    Joes is definitely a touristic attraction or place to bring large group rather than good dining. Key lime pie is great put for Stone Crabs I prefer Bistro Mezzaluna in Fort Lauderdale, same or better crabs, much better overall experience and no long waiting as you can reserve table. By the way in Joes for twenty to the host you get in much faster and fifty will get you in right away )))