JOEY, especially the Eaton Centre location, has been a favourite restaurant of mine since my move to Toronto less than a year ago, and provides a cozy and convenient atmosphere that I frequent. Being in the heart of downtown Toronto, surrounded by not-so-pleasant ambient sounds and the  hum drum of the city, JOEY does a fantastic job of bringing you away from that and into a relaxing and mellow state. In the summer, when the weather is nice, their large glass panels facing, Dundas Street, spring open to reveal a dimly lit indoor patio, which is completely functional as part of their dining room during the winter months. My recent trips to the restaurant have all stayed consistent, with my order of a sushi cone, steak frites and my personal favourite—molten lava chocolate soufflé. The Yonge-Dundas location describes itself perfectly on the website—upscale casual—with its gorgeous loft seating serving as an upper dining room, accentuated by an open, yet intimate dining space, decorated with exposed brick walls and modern, but refined lighting structures. Seriously, the custom lighting serves as a piece of art in itself.

Consistency is nice, but on my visit last Monday, I decided to opt for something different. Of course, old habits die hard, and I ordered my preferred drink—the Summer Sangria ($7)—before moving onto the creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip ($12) as a starter. The dip was definitely not lacking of cheese, which went well with the perfectly salted warm corn tortilla chips. Despite the savoury flavour of the dip, which was complimented with a petite bowl of jalapeño salsa, it was not too rich or obnoxious—an important factor in a good appetizer. After all, the point is to bring out your appetite, not fill you up.

Onto the main course! The JOEY menu features many popular Asian fusion dishes, so it was only right to try out the Steak n’ Sushi ($24.50), which is the perfect blend of East and West. The dish, as described on the menu, is Japanese surf and turf, Tataki style steak with a rainbow roll. Although I chose to have my steak, which is served in slices, without sauce, it was extremely juicy and flavourful nonetheless (seriously, JOEY has great steak). The rainbow roll, wrapped in an array of avocado, salmon and tuna around crab and cucumber and drizzled in teriyaki sauce, complimented the meat portion perfectly. Because of the simplicity of the roll, and the fact that it wasn’t too heavy in flavour, its fresh taste created a nice balance and a clean palette.

Finally, my (and probably everyone’s) favourite—dessert. As an avid lover of the JOEY soufflé, it was difficult for me to part ways with it and try something new…but all in the name of journalism, right? Upon finishing my last piece of steak, the Key Lime Pie ($8.50), as per manager suggestion, was brought swiftly to our table. I was not disappointed. The pie itself was rich and creamy, while sustaining a sour and lime taste, without being too overpowering. I’ve never liked most whipped creams because of the thing, watery consistencies, but the Tahitian vanilla whipped cream that topped this pie was out of this world. It was thick, creamy and didn’t look as if it would melt away into oblivion if not eaten immediately, while maintaining the fluff that is expected out of a whipped cream. I could go on about the cream forever, but you ought to just go try it for yourself…the flavour will blow your mind.

JOEY never falls short when it comes to food, but their impeccable service is plus that keeps me coming back. From our quick escort to our table, to the constact check-ups; there was no need that was left unattended. It is clear why the tables are always filled at the Eaton Centre location, and it is without a doubt, a guaranteed satisfactory meal.

To read what my dinner date, John, had to say about JOEY, check out his “He Said” segment of the review.

To find out more about the menu and the closest JOEY location to you, check out their website.