There are some relatives you only visit once every few years. Not necessarily because you don’t like them, but maybe they live in Alaska or only correspond with you via handwritten letters or you’re allergic to all 12 of their cats. Still, you make the occasional trip out of love and respect. Joe’s is a lot like that relative.
Nothing about eating here is easy - not the price of their stone crab claws or the long wait you’ll have to endure to eat them. But when you do eventually get motivated enough to come here, you’ll be glad you did. And then you’ll happily wait another few years before you do it again.
Joe’s is a historic spot in South of Fifth that’s been open for more than a century. Even though it doesn’t quite feel 100-years-old, it is undeniably old school. Instead of a reservation system, you check in with the maître d’ and hope for the best. You might see some older gentlemen try to slip them a few $20s, but it doesn’t make much of a difference unless you come here frequently enough for them to recognize you (or you know the alleged secret code that gets you sat immediately).
After waiting it out at the bar, you’ll be guided through the huge restaurant to your table, where you should absolutely order stone crabs because that’s why you’re here. You should also get some sides - like the hashed brown potatoes - and key lime pie for dessert is an absolute must. None of the food (except for maybe the key lime pie) is really mind-blowing, but Joe’s - like taking a seaplane to visit your aunt’s cabin in Anchorage - is all about the experience. It’s just not an experience you need in your life very often.
You can order the claws in different sizes - the cheapest being seven medium claws for about $45. If you like crab, you’ll like Miami’s contribution to the crab world. Just make sure to give it a dip in the house sauce.
The fried half-chicken is one of the cheapest things on the menu at $6.95, so it’s worth getting. The dark meat is very juicy, but the white meat isn’t - so be the first to the drumstick.
These browned cubes of potatoes are an essential Joe’s side - and they help fill you up if the price of the stone crab claws gave you a mild panic attack.
It’s perfectly tart. The graham cracker crust is the perfect thickness. It’s hard to describe this pie without using the word “perfect” at least twice. Order it.