Bad iPhone pictures courtesy of me.
Here’s my idea of dessert: it’s the part of the meal that you don’t want to skip so you mysteriously always have room for it in your tummy even after a hearty dinner. It’s the end of the supper that leaves your experience on a good note. “Wow, that was so gooood,” you’d say while rubbing your belly and sighing.
Well, disappointingly this wasn’t the case at Joe’s Restaurant in Venice. Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Joe’s brunch which comes with a wonderful fruit plate or granola and has a nice selection of brunch cocktails to boot. Mmm, bourbon milk punch! So I thought for sure this was a good pick to take my friend to for a birthday dessert, especially since she was a fan of their food, too.
But even though we originally had our eye on the chocolate crunch cake, we decided it would be fun to share the chocolate duo dessert ($15) which is basically dessert for two comprised of chocolate souffle cake, creme fraiche ice cream, caramel rice candy, passionfruit curd, brandied cherries, and two half glasses of Dow’s Crusted Port. The server warned us that the souffle would take 20 minutes to make but we didn’t mind. It would give us a chance to catch up.
No, the wait wasn’t a big deal but the portion of this “dessert for two” was. When the server finally arrived with our dish, my friend and I exchanged a confused glance. He had set a plate with a tiny souffle (smaller than a muffin), a small pile of three cherries and a melon ball-sized scoop of ice cream in front of me. “OK, here’s mine, now where’s yours?” I asked my friend, kidding but mostly serious. WTF?
Just that for $15?! It’s basically the size of one of their desserts which are small to begin with. The port must be pricey. In any case, they really expect couples out on a date looking for a romantic dessert to split these tiny portions? It’s enough to challenge the best marriages and even the best of friends. Fortunately, my friend wasn’t crazy about the brandied cherries since she doesn’t like the taste of alcohol but I gave her the evil eye when she basically hogged up all of that tiny scoop of ice cream. So selfish! Heh.
The souffle was soft, moist, rich and chocolatey and I definitely would have rather not shared it. Note to self: Once again, do not share desserts with people on their birthdays. You’ll just feel obligated to let them have most of it and will end up resenting them for that.
After we polished off the plate, amazingly we were still hungry. Something that should not happen after one dessert. So my friend suggested we order up the coconut cake ($8), too. At the time that seemed like a good idea but when I dug into the small slice of cake, I instantly regretted it. The frosting reminded me of the white frosting I’d experience at friends’ birthday parties growing up. So sugary and almost waxy. Nope, wasn’t crazy about this one either. Not even the lemon cream filling could save it for me. But fortunately my friend liked it and this time I let her have it all evil eye-free.
So yeah, Joe’s Restaurant may be great for brunch and dinner but it’s definitely not my dessert destination.
1023 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, California 90291 (map)