Gift cards are the great equalizer. The Joey chain of restaurants is one that most people around my age thought was super-cool at one time, an impression probably rooted in their locations’ cool modern interiors and food that is more polished than your average Earls or White Spot. I’m sure we’ve all been to our share of high-school “please-dress-nice” birthday parties at a restaurant just like this. I don’t visit Joeys much anymore; I feel like I can find many restaurants at the same price point with better food and more personality. What’s weird is that the branding of the chain has changed pretty frequently, from the somewhat “family restaurant”-feeling Joey Tomato’s, to Earls-soundalike Joey’s, to the minimalist JOEY.
I wasn’t in the mood for a steak, so I ordered the grilled salmon (with maple beurre blanc, herbs, veg, and crispy mashed potato). I couldn’t even tell the sauce contained maple; I couldn’t taste it, and I didn’t see it on my cursory glance over the menu, but it was a pretty light cream sauce. One of my main gripes about ordering fish is the flavour is very delicate and hard to compliment without the dish being either overwhelming or bland. In this case, the herbs added a surprisingly spicy kick to the salmon, which served to liven up the flavour of the fish.
The real star of the show here, though, was the crispy mashed potato. I’ve never seen anything like this before, but it was basically a mashed potato inside a spring-roll like shell. They probably just deep-fried the thing, but it was infinitely more enjoyable than eating plain mashed potatoes, probably because I’m a huge fan of crunchy textures in food. I guess it’s a little like a big fat french fry?
At least I can thank the gift card for introducing me to crispy mashed potatoes. Is there any other restaurant around that does something similar?