Last week I had dinner with a friend for her bday. It was a small group and she had chosen to go to Joyce & Gigi's. It's been on my radar for a while and I haven't gotten to try yet. I made a reservation for 6 people at 7PM.
Joyce & Gigi's Kitchen
1623 N Hall St.
Dallas, TX 75204
We arrived right on time. The place was empty, and it was a very small restaurant. Maybe fits like 40 people... maybe? The decor is nice, quite cozy. Apparently this is a mother-daughter duo so you get that homey feel. They specialize in South American food. I sure love me some Latin food!
Two of my friends were already there and ordered cocktails from the bar.
Sour Joyce (Creamy papaya, pisco sour) $12~ This was a pretty drink. A little tart for me but not bad.
Joyce and Gigi's (Rhubarb and strawberry sangria) $11~ This was delicious! And I never like sangria because I don't like wine. But it was like drinking juice. So yum!
We were seated immediate (duh!). The table was 2 small square tables put together. For 6 people, it felt quite cramped. :( I guess you can say "more intimate". Haha.
The waitress came and gave us the specials and took our orders. Then we were served their Homemade Mint Bread (with chimichurri butter).
It was fresh out of the oven. And it was heavenly! The bread had so much flavor, and that crust on the top was perfection. At first we thought the butter was chunks of cheese. But then we spread it on and realized it wasn't. It was really rich in flavor and went very well with the hot, fluffy bread. I found out that you can buy a fresh loaf to go for $5.50~ I decided to get one before dinner was over. hehe. They freshly baked one for me to take home. Made my car smell so good! You can buy 8 oz. of butter to take home as well...that's a lot! I think it's like $8.50 or something.
One friend got the Soup of the Day: Peanut Soup (with beef and noodles) $6~
Sounded very interesting. The waitress said it was more brothy. But one would think peanut soup would be more creamy/rich. It was a very dark soup and the flavor punches you in the face. It was really tasty but I don't think I could finish that bowl in one sitting. It was very strong and heavy. It went really well with the bread though.
For the entree I got the Milanesa (Chicken milanesa fritatta, served over chicken skin quinoa grits and a side of beurre blanc sauce, garnished with a pickled onion and herb salad) $16~
The waiter poured the beurre blanc over the chicken for me when he served this dish. It was not a typical chicken milanesa which is usually a pounded out chicken cutlet. This just looked like fried chicken. Tender juicy awesome fried chicken. haha. It was pretty damn tasty. The crust was really nice. It was on a bed of quinoa which I felt was a little soggy? But still went ok with the chicken. The pickled onion salad was a nice compliment with the fried foods.
Pescado Sudado (seared chilean sea bass served over a yuca root cake topped with dried chili broth) $27~
This was market price, just FYI. So ask before you order because the price will change. It was yummy! The fish was cooked really well and paired surprisingly well with the yuca cake. I thought 2 soft textures would be boring, but the flakiness of the fish and the creaminess of the yuca was great. The sauce had so much flavor. I don't know if I liked this more than my chicken!
Feijoada (Pork sirloin, pork shoulder, homemade chorizo and black bean stew, served with a pickled onion and tomato salad) $17~
This wasn't as good. It was mostly beans, which was actually cooked well. But I dunno if I'd want to eat all of this as a main entree. I didn't get to try any of the chorizo, but my friend said it was very dry. He didn't like it very much. :(
Majadito (Duck confit red risotto with plantains, topped with a poach egg, garnished with pickled onion and tomato salad) $18~
I almost ordered this, but 3 other people were getting it so I changed my mind. I'm so glad I did, cuz this did not live up to expectations. First of all, where's the duck?!? It was so finely shredded and mixed in that you couldn't really tell. And usually I find risotto as an entree is just too much carbs... too heavy. The flavor was actually good, to me. The flavors were surprisingly light. The poached egg was nice. But we also didn't see any plantains. I'm thinking that was probably mashed up and mixed in as well. One of my friends really did not like it so she barely ate. I took the leftovers home to my fiance. haha. One of my other friends really enjoyed it though. Just depends on your preference I guess. But it would've been nice to have actual sliced duck on top or something and more textural differences in the dish.
So the dinner started off good but then took a different turn. Some of us really liked our dishes and some hated theirs. The drinks and bread were amazing though. By the time we had gotten our food, the place was almost half full. It's definitely a quaint little place off the beaten path. I doubt I'll go back again, but I don't regret trying it.
Quality of Food:
~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~