Being that my current HR role has me recruiting, I spend most of my work days meeting, interviewing, and then hopefully checking up on train of potential candidates that seems as long as (insert long object). Every so often, the average, and probably quite drab interview room is ditched in favour of something a little more attractive. In this case, GR wanted me to meet BK and see if we could make something work. With no specific job available, we decided to meet for lunch and just shoot the breeze.
Located a hop and skip south of the giant South Edmonton Common complex, this location of Original Joe’s was one I’d never visited. Yet, as our city continues to expand south, these outlying options become possible destinations from my work site in Nisku. I arrived first, and took a seat outside to soak in a few of our last rays. The menu was standard chain fare, with everything from steak to sandwiches, soup to salads. Of course, they follow the current trend of creative dish names; SGT. Pepper, Kona etc…
It was apparently a rabbit-like day, because when the server finally approached all three of us ordered salads. I started with the Grilled Sirloin Salad -Tender marinated sirloin; grilled medium and sliced thin over a mix of fresh romaine lettuce, roma tomatoes wedges, feta cheese, grilled mushrooms, red onions and sugar snap peas.Served with bleu cheese dressing. Ordering the steak rare, it was cooked in a very strange manner. For some reason there was an almost pencil shaped section of rare steak in an other wise well done piece of meat. I’m not sure how they cooked 90% of the steak incorrectly, but at least the seasoning made it edible. The mix of greens and veg was fresh, while the feta cheese added a salty tinge. I didn’t find the blue cheese dressing to suit the feta, so I didn’t touch much. Anything beyond the breads buttered exterior was really dry, and rather disappointing.
GR threw down an order for the Thai Chicken Salad – Romaine lettuce and chilled rice vermicelli tossed in our house made thai dressing. Topped with a citrus marinated grilled chicken breast, mandarin oranges, red onions, pea shoots, fresh cilantro and cashews. Served with fresh banana bread. GR said, just like mine, the vegetables were fresh, but the overall balance didn’t make sense. On top of the that, the thai dressing seemed bland. Call me odd or not hip, but I hadn’t though about banana bread with a salad, and GR and I agreed it was more like a dessert offering than carb option.
BK finished the salad trifecta with a half order of California Cobb Salad – Sliced turkey breast, peppered bacon, cheddar cheese, egg, fresh avocado, cucumber and roma tomatoes on a bed of mixed greens. Served with our own balsamic bleu cheese vinaigarette. I’m not sure if the half order was actually half as the plate was literally brimming with ingredients. If anything, we all figured the actual salad part (ie lettuce) was less but nothing else. Like my bread, BK’s was dry, but the salad (once mixed) was perfect in BK’s eyes. Asking about the avocado, I’m told it was ripe, and smooth. To one up everything, or at least add something that wasn’t lettuce, BK asked for a side order of Sweet Potato Fries - Cut thin, fried crisp and seasoned with a house made spice blend. Served with our signature dill dip or chipotle sauce. Arriving perfectly crisp, I have to say this might have been the best item of the day. The dill sauce was something different for me (everyone seems to serve chipotle) and it worked really really well. Yes..the best part of the meal indeed.
For a quick lunch, or in this case a quick salad break, I’m pretty impressed with Original Joe’s. It’s steak preparation could use some work, but then again, each cook will probably have different skills. The vegetables are fresh, and I like the idea behind each plate we ordered. But really, if I was to go back to Original Joe’s at this moment, it would be for those fries. Damn they were good.