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“A Hidden Treasure in My Own Backyard!!!”
Review of Joe K's Brewhouse

Joe K's Brewhouse
Ranked #148 of 543 Restaurants in Harrisburg
Cuisines: Seafood
Restaurant details
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A Hidden Treasure in My Own Backyard!!!”
Reviewed August 31, 2014

I have driven by Joe K's Brewhouse on Union Deposit in the evenings on several occasions. Either due to their spacious parking, or perhaps just bad timing on my part, I've never seen very many cars in the lot, and I have wondered if the place was in business anymore, but after unending disappointment with the local Chinese buffets 'pretending' to serve snow crab as part of their weekend fare, I recently turned my weekend attentions to just trying out restaurants close in proximity to see how they appealed to me, while I inwardly continued to pine for my long-lost crab legs. I decided it was a small venture to do further exploring of Joe K's Brewhouse- and I'm very glad I did.

This restaurant and bar was a real find as far as I'm concerned. Once you get inside, you find that the exterior is a complete underestimation in presentation. Deliciousness wafted in the air as my girlfriend and I approached the hostess. She was very friendly, yet professional, and promptly seated us in an inside booth after giving a choice of either inside or outside dining. She announced that our server, Lauren would be with us shortly.

Lauren was also a friendly and professional compliment to the business as she helpfully answered our questions and was knowledgeable about their menu offerings. We could not resist the "Joe K's Classic Steampot for 2" deal at 35.00. At $17.50 a person plus drinks, this seemed like a great value compared to other restaurant menus I have seen with comparable content. We figured that there would be a lot of new potatoes and corn to pad the balance of crab and lobster, but were still anticipating sinking our teeth into whatever was brought to the table. While we waited we also ordered onion rings for an appetizer, and were also pleased to have green salads brought to us as part of the entree.

As we waited for our food I scanned around the general decor. The place appears to be set up to incorporate the ingredients of a bay area fish house, but without the ancient decay, stains, fishing memorabilia, and odor. The rafters are uncovered, clean, and bare wood. There are numerous large screen televisions, booths, tables, and a central bar in what appears to be a spacious layout. I even had occasion to visit the restroom and found it to be clean and inviting. We came in about 5 pm on a Sunday afternoon, and at that time it was a relaxing, mostly quiet atmosphere which we appreciated as well. We were comfortable.

When Lauren brought our food to the table, we were elated to see that it exceeded what we had been expecting. Generous clusters of succulent crab legs, shrimp, and open-shell clams were scattered in a large roasting pan and crowned with a large lobster. I think I had been expecting a nominally-sized lobster tail, but I certainly approved of the reality upgrade.

Everything was just so satisfying. We hungrily picked over trying everything in the pan after Lauren snipped open the lobster for us before leaving us to enjoy our meal. Everything was just great as it simmered in the Old Bay broth inside the pan. The only thing that I wasn't completely sure about was the shrimp. I ate it, but to me it tasted too 'clean' with almost a sanitized flavor. That being said, I don't eat peel-and-eat shrimp that often, so I may not be the best critic there. Believe me, that didn't keep me from wolfing it down anyway. Even the onion rings were extraordinary to me with a solid crispy batter as opposed to the signature flaking-off batter that is all too common and less impressive to me.

The JKBH staff are such a credit to the business and contribute greatly to the dining experience. Lauren was not just great in her service, but several other staff of anonymous title would occasionally stop by and take away dishes and generally get things out of our way. There was a real sense of responsibility to making a great impression for the restaurant and a certain pride in their work that is becoming more and more rare in these times. It was refreshing to enjoy it here again.

When the crab shell shrapnel settled, the aftermath of our meal consisted of a few sausage strips which I packed up to enjoy later. That steampot didn't stand a chance against us, and as we got ourselves together to leave, we let the manager on duty know that we would be giving a great review, and would definitely be back for a rematch. Can’t wait!

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Crabman4Life
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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36 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    10
    11
    8
    5
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Omg”
Reviewed August 19, 2014

The best fresh seafood in harrisburg trust me I am a seafood lover I like mines fresh not frozen like these Chinese buffet places no doubt you have to go and experience the best thank you joe k b dont ever close Ms. URSULA WOODWARD

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank ursuwoodwa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California, Maryland
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Beware the Flies, Enjoy the Crab Legs”
Reviewed August 19, 2014

Joe K's is a take on a Joe's Crab Shack. The concept of being a brewhouse is a little miss leading as the restaurant serves microbrews from other breweries and does not produce their own. Although at the time of this review it is listed the place is friendly for kids, there is not a kids menu. The one positive element is the steam pots are very full and can easily be shared by two people and still leave full. Although most of this does not seem a reason to give the place two stars, the biggest reason was the fly infestation. During the meal there were at least four flies swarming the table that were quite an annoyance while trying to not fling steam pot juices all over the place while trying to get flies away from the food. All in all, the food was ok, the service was decent but the atmosphere was not as inviting as a restaurant should be. Happy Dining!

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank ntw516
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hershey, PA
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great for lovers of seafood in a shell”
Reviewed August 8, 2014

My wife & I, daughters and boyfriends had a memorable meal at Joe K's Brewhouse. The name may imply beer as a specialty but I found the seafood steam baskets to be what made this restaurant special. I had one of the best meals in years. I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay and have been cracking crab shells since I was young. There were snow crab legs, Dungeness crabs, shrimp and clams along with sausage and corn on the cob. It was wonderful; I thoroughly enjoyed it. We spend a leisurely two hours eating, drinking and socializing. Sitting outside was a great atmosphere. My only disappointment was that the dessert menu was limited and there was no key lime pie. Not everyone may like getting their hands dirty and working for your food, but it was well worth it.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank ronelay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Shore Atmosphere”
Reviewed July 25, 2014

Last night was my first time having dinner at Joe K's Brewhouse. I had heard about their Boiler pot seafood dinner. Two of us split the pot for two that had a whole lobster. Another person had the lobster tacos.

The pot was HUGE! Sitting on top was a large lobster, which was very good. There were also about 1/2 dozen snow crab sections (much more than needed for two people), clams, shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn. I never even got to the potatoes and corn with all of that seafood! I think they could cut down the portions for most people.

The lobster taco was unfortunately swimming in sauce, and my friend couldn't even pick it up! The Mashed Yukons were very tasty.

We sat outside on a very nice evening. They need to somehow install trash receptacles at the tables so that you can dispose of the shells, etc. from the boiler pots. But we had a great time, and it was a wonderful kick-off for our vacation at the shore!

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank PSUForever1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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