Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Joe's Crab Shack

Joe's Crab Shack 

Kenneth Watrous is my name. All the opinions here are mine. They also apply only to the places I have tried in Las Vegas.

Last month, we went to Red Lobster. This month, I tried Joe's Crab Shack. 

Joe’s is more of an after-work place. They specialize in faster food, but good food. The establishments often are built around the central bar. They have a more rustic appearance and seem less like a fancy place and more just like a place you go in and sit down. Less of a family joint and more of a place to go with co-workers or friends, Joe’s is about keeping you well fed while you hang out and enjoy a few drinks. The drinks are cheaper than a lot of places of the same kind. The food is also cheaper in price, but definitely stays high in quality.

Seafood is the name of the game at Joe’s Crab Shack. They have a mainland section to the menu for those that maybe walked in expecting something else, or for those times when you just don’t feel the group. But most of what is there is seafood and seafood on top of seafood. The best bet are the steampots and the buckets of crab. These are huge portions of food served hot and kept hot throughout. You have to be a pretty big guy to walk out of Joe’s hungry. The steampots are also the signature feature of the original crab shacks back on the west coast. This is the kind of throw it altogether food that people think about when they think about some of the old beach movies. That is part of what gives Joe’s the great party atmosphere.

This is a lively place and they can get pretty noisy later at night. While children are welcome, they aren’t the best bet. Joe’s is more of that bar-style and there gets to be a fair amount of mingling, especially on the weekends and in the after 8 crowd. It is a great place for a dinner and a movie style date night with the wife, usually a good idea to hit the movie first. The selection of beers is top notch and they offer more on-tap options than a lot of other places.

I like that the service and the servers are also more casual. Things are tidy and clean but they are also functional. You don’t find a lot of extra glasses or too many table cloths. Just what you need. This is also good for getting sauces and the like. I don’t like asking for extra when I’m in the mood for a lot of dipping. So they have a sauce bar you can just hit and stock up on what you want. That really frees me up to not feel like I’m taking all of someone’s time just because I have a particular taste one night.

The atmosphere and the vibe make for a laid-back experience so you can unwind. I have gotten a little crazy here and there and the food has helped. The Cajun steampot is one that will get you a little extra tipsy if you don’t watch it. Nothing cools that down like a cold beer and the back and forth can be one of the most rewarding dining experiences I’ve had. They also do a solid set of cocktails and this is one of the few places I will go all out for some margaritas to accompany.
Desert selection is simple but fun. The appetizers are less like a taste but more like samples of the other options. Sometimes I am disappointed when the appetizers seem to be the same four things, but Joe’s practically offers its whole menu up there in trial size.
If you are looking for a night out with the guys or without the kids Joe’s is a good time that won’t leave you feeling bad. I’ve never had a bad meal or a bad time in the Shack.

-Kenneth Watrous
Find more about me on or follow me on twitter at @KennethWatrous