Restaurant Review – May 2007

Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine Restaurant Review May 2007
Downtown Joe’s

Downtown Joe’s
By “The Elusive Epicurean”

When this assignment arrived at my doorstep, delivered in the stealth of night by a masked ninja warrior trained at the fabled ShaMu Monastery perched upon the icy slopes of forgotten Mount PoPo, I was, shall we say, surprised. Not by the delivery, for fuel surcharges being what they are these days, FedEx is far too dear.

No, I was surprised by the subject of this month’s column: Downtown Joe’s. Could anyone not be aware of this bastion of our community? But then my publisher, a sage woman who has clearly mastered the teachings of ShaMu, reminded me that we sometimes become blind to that which is always before us. In the case of your neighbor’s questionable lawn art, this might be a good thing. In the case of Downtown Joe’s, it is not. And so, today, Dear Reader, we revisit an old friend.

Joe’s recently revamped menu includes a few more posh dishes than one would expect of a brew pub, but given the culinary leanings of this here valley, why am I not surprised? For those with a hankering for more than a burger, there’s a Black Angus Rib Eye Steak with Herb Butter and Mashed Potatoes ($21). Meat and potatoes not your style? Try the Chicken Pomodoro Fettuccini ($15) or the Angel Hair Pasta with Prawns ($17). Is your credo “Down With Carbs”? Not to fear! Here to save the day are the Chicken or Steak Fajita Salad with Cumin Dressing ($12) or the Seared Ahi Salad with Ginger Lime Dressing ($11).

Though I’d like to deny my conformist tendencies, I must confess that when in a pub, I opt for classic pub fare. This, of course, begins with beer. For me, that meant the Worthy’s Leprechaun Stout, which delivered on the menu’s promise of “roasted coffee and chocolate flavors.” My companion favored a seasonal Red Wheat Beer with a nice crisp zing to it. Thus prepared for the second stage of our classic pub meal, we warned our arteries to prepare for attack, and ordered.

Soon to arrive was a heaping platter of fried goodness, AKA Beer Battered Fish and Chips ($14). The words “generous portion size” don’t just come to mind, but flash in orange neon. Truly, it could feed a family of four, or, I hate to admit, one hungry me. Please don’t tell my trainer.

My companion chose the Rib Eye Steak Sandwich with Gruyère Cheese, Grilled Onions, and Sautéed Mushrooms ($15). Okay, so the Gruyère cheese might be a bit gourmet for all my talk of traditional pub fare, but let’s not put too fine a point on it. It was tasty, and that’s what counts.

No matter what type of food you fancy, Joe’s is sure to have something to satisfy, and it will all be served up in an atmosphere that, as Downtown Joe’s itself describes it, is “unpretentious, friendly and fun.” So, if your stomach starts rumbling when the workaday ends, you needn’t worry about wasting precious time with an elaborate costume change. Trot on down to Joe’s in your Levi’s and your Red Wings, and soon you can be tipping back a pint as you dine on Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb with Grilled Polenta ($22). Plan your timing right, and you just might be able to enjoy some live music, too.

So, Dear Reader, your friendly local pub is waiting for you. Bring your appetite!

Downtown Joe’s is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and is located at 902 Main Street in downtown Napa. With more than a dozen TVs and live music 5 nights a week, you won’t be bored. Check out the entertainment calendar at or call (707) 258-2337.


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