Yesterday was my birthday. We don’t do much about birthdays anymore except to do pretty much whatever we want all day and then have whatever we want for dinner. My choice for what to do all day pretty much revolved around sitting on my butt playing my ukulele and reading ukulele magazines online.
For my dinner of choice, I’d already decided a few weeks ago that what I really wanted was a steak. I usually get my steak jones appeased when we’re in Silverton. But this year, since we were there in the winter, I wasn’t feeling the pull of the BBQ grill. My folks took us to dinner at The Outback Steakhouse once while we were there and maybe that’s why I didn’t think of buying a couple ribeyes and cooking them up at Cody & Scott’s. Whatever it was, steak is what I wanted for my birthday dinner.
We’re pretty familiar with a lot of the restaurants in La Paz but the only one we’d ever eaten steak at was Buffalito Grill. I remember it being totally acceptable and that’s where we had planned to go until I found out they don’t even open until 7:00 PM. Hey, I’m 63 not 23! I like to be done eating by 7:00 PM! The only other places I could think of offhand was Bandito’s or Tailhunter’s. Both of these would be OK. But, what I was really hoping was that Big Joe had steaks on his menu.
Big Joe is this big gringo from up in the SF Bay area. He has a corporate background but somewhere along the line thought he’d like to drop out of the corporate world and open a restaurant. I believe I read that he has cordon bleu training but I could be wrong about that. Anyway, Big Joe opened a BBQ restaurant near the Chedraui supermarket. We went there once before for “two meats and two sides” and were overwhelmed by the quality as well as the quantity of the food we got. Joe does lots of Lousiana-type stuff (red beans and rice, gumbo, etc) as well as barbecue. And he’s a really nice guy. Well I figured that if he did steaks they’d definitely be worth the price. Not knowing how to find out whether or not he’d added steaks to the menu, I put a query out on the La Paz Gringos Yahoo group.
Well, no one seemed to know if Joe did steaks but I got lots of suggestions of other places to eat. We’d just about decided on Harken Boards (they make surfboards but also run a restaurant). But that was before I got an e-mail from Big Joe himself. He assured me that they would accommodate any special order. He said he’d get some steaks and come up with some good sides to go with. How could I turn that kind of service down?
So, last night, about 5:30 or so, we got to Big Joe’s. Joe wasn’t there at the moment but was expected back shortly. His wife, Lupe, took our drink orders and then brought us out some soup. She asked if we like onion rings and we assured her that we did. Next thing you know, we had a big plate of complimentary onion rings with a chipotle dipping sauce. This was all before we’d even placed an order or seen a menu. When she brought the menus, we explained who we were and what the plan was. She was expecting us and expected Joe back at any minute.
A couple minutes later, Big Joe walked in. He came over to the table, welcomed us and assured us that special treatment was how he liked to operate. He wants his customers to feel like family, not just customers. He told us that he’d bought some New York strips and some T-bones and had been marinating them in a teriyaki/garlic marinade. He’d be cooking them in drawn butter and serving them topped with a pat of herb-butter, grilled onions and mushrooms. On the side he planned to have mashed potatoes and baby asparagus. It all sounded mighty good to us. We both opted for the t-bones.
When the food came out, is was everything we hoped it would be.
The meat was juicy and tender and cooked just right. The spuds were excellent and the asparagus had a slightly citrusy dressing that was really good. The dinner also included a side salad.
Once we’d polished the main course off, the staff came out and sang Feliz cumpleaños to me as they served us chocolate-strawberry cheesecake for dessert.
There was actually another warbler but she was out of frame to Danny’s right. Lupe, on the right, is Joe’s wife and a really sweet lady. All in all, this was a great choice for my birthday dinner. Lots of places can cook a steak but not many make you feel as special as they did at Big Joe’s. On the way out, I had to get a shot of Joe in his element.
When I snapped this photo, Joe asked if we needed a ride back to the marina. Now that’s service. But we passed. We had great meal to walk off.
Thanks Big Joe.