Jo’s. Location: Nolita. Elizabeth and Houston. Scene: Young. Confortable. Stylish. Food: Southeast Asian. Steamed Veggie Dumplings. Bahn Mi Burger. Lamb Pho. Wild Caught Pollock. Beef Rendang.
- M&R Portobello Sliders: Caramelized Onion, Gruyere (1st pic)
- Shrimp Fried Rice: Jasmine Rice, Long Bean, Chili, Egg, Sweet Soy (2nd pic)
- Galangal Fried Chicken Sambal Goreng, Coconut Rice, Spice Roasted Butternut Squash (3rd pic)
- 3 Scoops Ice Cream 101: Banana, Salted Caramel Toffee, Chocolate (pic below)
- The G Spot Cocktail: Vodka, Mint, Lemon, Cucumber
Jo’s has been hiding out in Nolita since 2009, but just recently, a chef from Fatty Cue jumped on board to recreate the entire menu surrounding a Southeast Asian fare. The wooden/American decor looks like a nice wine bar in the front which then opens into a huge seated dining room in the back. The center of this room has little black booths with a wooden separator in between that can make for an intimate date. The perimeter of the room is more open, and I love the shabby schick mirrors and antler chandeliers. There is even a third back room with a huge circular table that would be perfect for a large group. It’s so rare to see a table this big in Manhattan, so you should jump on it for a big birthday dinner.
While the menu is all over the place from oysters, to portobello sliders to fried chicken and mushroom ramen, it works and I loved it. Definitely start off with the M&R Portobello Sliders with caramelized onion and gruyere. It’s a good lil munchie, and the bread is doughy and buttered to a crisp. The most popular dish is the Galangal Fried Chicken with Coconut Rice and Butternut Squash. The fried coating is great but the real stand out is the sweet dipping sauce that comes on the side. You’ll want to drench this bird in it. The chicken is not your typical grease ball, and the coating is pretty light. There is nothing special about the butternut squash, so order the side of Kai Lan which is a Chinese broccoli to get your greens in. The most memorable dish to me (randomly) was the Shrimp Fried Rice. Yes, we are only blocks away from authenticity in Chinatown and Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya (which I think is the best fried rice ever), but somehow this one is awesome. I love the sweet flavor and the amount of shrimp and veggies were perfect. Skip the Sambal Shrimp appetizers unless you are obsessed with kaffir lime zest- it was a bit too citrusy for me. The G Spot Cocktail is unbelievable. Cucumber drinks are my go-to, so I was extremely excited to see this on the menu paired with vodka, lime and mint. Oh, and it comes in a martini glass.
The last stop is dessert and let me tell you this menu is def overwhelming. How do you choose between Peanut Butter S’mores Bar, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Molten Chocolate Cake and even a Fried Chicken & Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich? The Peanut Butter S’mores Bar (pic above) is good but it’s the Toffee Ice Cream that will get you here. WOW.
Definitely go to Jo’s for any occasion: birthday, date, casual night out, cocktail, bros dinner, girls dinner, whatever. Just get here.