An import from Miami Beach, Joe’s made a splash when it launched in the former Union Trust Bank in January. Almost overnight, the corner restaurant became a place for the powers that be to seal deals over meals or simply unwind over a classic cocktail and oysters that are terrific whether they’re raw or fried. Come with an appetite or a crowd; everything — the bread basket, the salads, the side dishes — is plus-size.
A cheat sheet to the menu flags chopped vegetable salad, silken black cod in clear tomato broth, bone-in rib-eye and fried chicken sheathed in cracker meal, a signature of the original Joe’s. Conspicuously absent from the list? Joe’s signature stone crabs from the Florida Keys, damp and sometimes stringy when I’ve caught them. (Sweeter are the rock crabs, available from May through October, fresh from the Pacific Coast.)
Proximity to the White House is a factor in the restaurant’s favor, as is the generous bar, dignified with marble columns, Palladian windows and leather stools hugging a black granite counter. Service is tops. An order of anything messy is followed by hand-washing with lemons and steamy towels. And waiters thoughtfully tell diners that all the pies can be enjoyed by the half slice. Boston cream pie, I’ve discovered, is best ordered as a whole serving; someone always wants to share.