Joey’s Global Grill & Lounge – Edmonton, AB


Joey’s Global Grill & Lounge
9911 19 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T6N 1M4
(780) 465-1880

Joey’s South Common is the upscale version of the more common Joey Tomato’s found throughout this and other cities.  Taking advantage of a beautiful summer day in Edmonton, we slid out of the office a good half-hour before noon to ensure we could grab a table on the outdoor patio.  Good thing we did, as most of the tables were already filled by the time we got there – although this could have been due to the sunny Friday afternoon in which we chose to visit this establishment.  The outdoor patio is equipped with a full bar, water features, shade umbrellas, and plenty of staff to keep drinks refilled, and the plates moving.

After perusing the “world-inspired” menu, the ‘Baja Fish Tacos’ caught my attention.  My lunch companions ordered the ‘Tandoori Chicken Flatbread’, and ‘Viva Salad’.  We shared a laugh when we got to reminiscing about a lunch at this same restaurant years ago, when I ordered this same salad — but distinctly recall it being called the ‘DIVA Salad’ (as I had to endure quite the verbal onslaught from my friends at the table that afternoon).  Maybe other customers shared this experience, resulting in the name change?  Who knows!?

The service on this day was very quick – replacing drinks just as they crossed the half-way point – and the food arrived surprisingly quick considering how busy the patio was.

My trio of tacos arrived on a clever taco stand, with a plentiful side dish of Mexican hot sauce (which was actually mild, even for my low heat tolerance).  Flavor of the tacos was quite tame — which made the sauce a must.  Overall – not the worst fish tacos I’ve ever had; however, the biggest drawback to my meal was the unfortunate luck of sitting downwind of my companion’s tandoori chicken.  Don’t get me wrong – I am an Indian food junkie — but if 75% of what we perceive as taste actually comes from the olfactory receptors – I was smelling Indian food, while putting Mexican on the actual tastebuds…

Baja Fish Taco

Baja Fish Taco

The tandoori chicken flatbread looked great, and as mentioned – smelled great.  The server commented that this was her choice of the trio, but two of our group didn’t find it all that exciting.  Comparing this to your average Indian restaurant, I would have to say this falls short.  Maybe to those who haven’t experienced really good Indian food – this might suffice as a nice introduction to the cuisine?

Tandoori Chicken Flatbread

Tandoori Chicken Flatbread

Last, but certainly not least is the ‘Viva Salad’.  I’ve been a big fan of this salad (as far as meal-worthy salads go).  The apples add a nice sour note, the Craisins provide a nice sweetness, and the roasted chicken is tender and seems to absorb just the right amount of the balsamic dressing.  Maybe it was the heat, but the lettuce was a bit on the wilty side, but still within a tolerable state.

Viva Salad

Viva Salad

I find my experience(s) at Joey’s most fun when the intention is to go for a few drinks and a couple bites.   Every experience I’ve had for lunch or dinner, has resulted in at least one individual who was a little let down with their meal, while another is satisfied.  Maybe this is due to their attempt to bring such a variety of world influences to a single menu – which makes them the restaurant equivalent of a “Jack of all trades, and a master of none”.

Joey's Global Grill (SouthEd Common) on Urbanspoon

Koon Bo – Vancouver, BC


Koon Bo
5682 Fraser Street
Vancouver, BC
Tel: 604-232-1218

Koon Bo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The idea of a Signature Dish is a well known concept for aficionados of Chinese Food.  It is no different in many other cuisines, I suppose, but in this city, the opportunities to sample such dishes seem boundless. Word of mouth is usually how I hear about a particular restaurant’s specialty so I try to keep an ear to the ground.

It is not uncommon to patronize a restaurant solely for one particular dish. Debates around Who Makes the Best What are rampant in Chinese community. Traditional dishes such as Soup Dumplings, Pulled Noodles, Peking Duck, just to name a few, require skilled and experienced cooks to be able to produce exemplary renditions. And then sometimes a restaurant’s signature dish is a unique, but un-traditional take on a classic often created by a mom-and-pop operation.

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Koon Bo has been operating at this Fraser Street location for over twelve years. It has gained a good reputation as a solid Westernized Chinese restaurant that serves the usual – Chow Mein, Wonton Soup, Lemon Chicken, and so forth. But whenever you mention Koon Bo to anyone – the response is usually: “have you had their shredded chicken salad?”

Chinese Chicken Salad is a North American take on certain “traditional” styles of Chinese cold chicken dishes. Bang Bang Chicken, a dish originating from Sichuan province is the most likely inspiration. The dish as we North Americans know it can be traced back to California – perhaps from the 1920’s. The typical preparation is fairly standard – cold shredded chicken and blanched or fresh vegetables are tossed together in a sweet sesame oil dressing then topped crispy noodles. I would often see it prepared with iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, celery, almonds, pineapple, raisins, and other distinctly un-Chinese ingredients. It is really sesame oil dressing that gives this dish that Asian-ness and brings it all home.

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Koon Bo’s version is unique in the addition of jellyfish shreds and a house-made sweet pickle. I couldn’t quite determine the main component of the vegetable pickle – it looks somewhat like shredded Mustard Green (Ja Cai) or Chinese Turnip. Instead of the usual pungent preparation (as in Tianjain Preserved Vegetable) the pickle is very, very sweet (almost cloying). It works very well in this dish.

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The shreds of jellyfish are a textural element and add little to the flavour – it merely adds an interesting crunchy-chewiness. The crispy deep fried noodle topping completes the experience. Here, they use wider wheat noodles rather the more commonly used Chow Mein noodles (or, as in certain parts of North America, La Choy crispy Chow Mein Noodles from a can – gasp!)

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Today, we also ordered a bowl of rice and some good old fashioned Chicken and Chinese Mushroom Chow Mein to fill out our lunch. The Chow Mein was good – but not particularly memorable. The Chow Mein not unexpectedly took a backseat to the salad – still it certainly hit the spot.

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Koon Lock, just up the road, serves a very similar version of the Chicken Salad. Someone told me once that the proprietors of the two restaurants are related – brothers perhaps.

As a postscript about Chinese Signature Dishes – I note that the the new (Vancouver-based) Chinese Restaurant Awards has been specifically designed around the concept of signature dishes….they have 25 Signature Dishes chosen by a panel of judges. (Koon Bo’s Chicken Salad didn’t make the list…they actually won an award for a Spot Prawn dish that I have never had) I think that these awards is a good first step in truly recognizing the significance of this cuisine in this city.  Considering the incredible influence Chinese cuisine has on this city’s gastronomy, it gets remarkably little coverage in the mainstream food press.

Koon Bo Restaurant on Urbanspoon