Last month, Joey’s Urban contacted me and invited me to go and try their fish tacos. Joey’s Urban is a subsidiary of Joey’s Restaurants, the largest Canadian seafood restaurant chain (and not to be confused with the JOEY Restaurant Group, which is a completely different chain). I grew up eating the famous fish & chips from Joey’s Restaurants, which back then used to be known as Joey’s Only. Unlike the Joey’s Restaurants, which are full-service casual restaurants, Joey’s Urban is a hybrid between a fast-food restaurant and a full-service casual restaurant or the so-called fast-casual type of restaurant. Customers walk up to the counter to place their order but the food is delivered to the tables with real plates and silverware. The Joey’s Urban brand is fairly new to Calgary. Up until recently, the only Joey’s Urban location in Calgary I was aware of was in the southwest neighbourhood of Braeside. A second location has just opened up in the food court of Market Mall.
With the complimentary $40 gift certificate I received, I brought along my friend Anna of Anna’s Appetite to sample some items from the Joey’s Urban menu. The menu at Joey’s Urban is a subset of the offerings from Joey’s Restaurants except with more of focus on tacos and poutine. We decided to start off with an order of the Coconut Shrimp ($7), which consisted of 5 large shrimp coated in sweet Coconut and panko crumbs, crispy fries, and was served with a spicy Thai dipping sauce. While these weren’t necessarily that most memorable coconut shrimp that I ever had, they were of decent quality considering this was from a fast-casual style of restaurant and were good value relative to the price point.
For our mains, both Anna and I decided to try the tacos. Joey’s Urban offers a variety of tacos such as Ahi Tuna, Greek Chicken, Shredded Beef, Joey’s Fish, and Mexi-Chicken. The tacos are priced at $4.50 each, or as part of the Taco n Chips Combo ($10), which includes any 2 tacos along with fresh-cut fries. You also have an option to upgrade the fries to a Classic Poutine for an additional $2, or upgrade to a signature Urban Poutine or salad for an additional $4. Both Anna and I decided to upgrade the fries to a salad. That was actually a smart move on our part as we didn’t know that the Coconut Shrimp already came with a generous heaping of fries. For our salad, we had a choice of Spring Mixed Greens, Caesar Salad or Greek Salad. I chose the Spring Mixed Greens while Anna chose the Caesar Salad.
At Joey’s Urban, there are actually two kinds of fish tacos. The first is the Ahi Tuna, which consists of blackened ahi tuna that was topped with cabbage, shredded cheddar/mozza, diced tomato, diced cucumber, and a cusabi (cucumber & wasabi) dressing. The second is the signature Joey’s Fish, which consists of lightly battered fish topped with cabbage, shredded cheddar/mozza, chipotle mayo and pico de gallo. Both Anna and I decided to try one of each kind of fish taco. I’ll honestly say that I was a little disappointed with the Ahi Tuna taco. On the Joey’s Urban website, I’d seen a picture of tacos with beautiful slices of ahi tuna that was perfectly seared on the outside while the center was still rare. Perhaps, it’s a matter of personal preference, but instead of having a nice sear on the outside with the center still being rare, what I got in my taco were the little pieces of ahi tuna were cooked all the way through. The cusabi dressing was also quite strong and overpowered the other flavours in the taco. My favourite of the two fish tacos was by far the signature Joey’s Fish taco. The flavours were spot on and I really enjoyed the pico de gallo. My only quibble would be that there was a little too much slaw so the fish was a little lost in the taco. Compared to the Fish Taco from Tacofino Food Truck and Commissary in Vancouver, which is my favourite place for fish tacos to date, this Joey’s Fish taco is pretty darn good for Calgary standards. In fact, this Joey’s Fish taco is one of the better fish tacos that I’ve had in Calgary to date. I certainly liked it a lot better than the ones I’ve tried from Original Joe’s and Los Compadres Food Truck. I’d definitely be back for more of these Joey’s Fish tacos. If you’re looking for some tasty fish tacos in Calgary, I’d recommend giving these Joey’s Fish tacos a try.
Joey’s Urban (Braeside)
Unit 6 – 11440 Braeside Drive SW