Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro is located in the heart of Fernandina Beach’s historic district, in a restored 1900s home that is filled with flavor. Chef Ricky Pigg and his wife, Mari, welcome guests into their restaurant as if they are family, and patrons claim that eating a meal at Joe’s is like eating in a chef’s home. I invited my friend Sherry to join me at Joe’s, and it was a delight to visit with Mari and Ricky, and taste some of their new menu offerings.
Our server Tanner suggested I try a glass of Staffelter Hof Riesling, a white wine that is crisp and clean on the palate with a kiss of sweetness. Sherry tried a glass of Lincort Chardonnay, a white with bright and vibrant acidity, and served at the perfect temperature for Chardonnay. Chef Ricky brought us a new item on their menu, Tuna Martini, a combination of raw tuna, mango, avocado, pineapple, lime, red onion, ginger infused oil, and cilantro. It was served in a beautiful martini glass with a stack of homemade crispy wontons. What a light and refreshing appetizer! We also shared the Wedge Salad, a quarter head of iceberg lettuce topped with sherry onions, applewood smoked bacon, diced tomatoes, and topped with gorgonzola vinaigrette. Everything about this salad was perfect, and especially the dressing, which is a much better accompaniment than a traditional bleu cheese dressing.
For our entrees, I tried Cajun Carbonara, a pasta dish with a smooth, cream-based Creole sauce with Andouille sausage, roasted shallots, applewood smoked bacon, and egg. This dish was incredibly rich, and Chef Ricky really has a way with flavor combinations. For Sherry, Tanner brought Risotto Milanese, a dish made with fresh sautéed shrimp, calamari, scallops, and vegetables, tossed in a saffron broth risotto. An amazing dish, and it’s always a good night when saffron is on the menu! The seafood was cooked to perfection, and we enjoyed a glass of Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a mid-bodied Bordeaux blend that paired well with both entrees, which, of course, Sherry and I had to share.
Chef Ricky makes delicious and innovative cheesecakes, and I love that he uses different flavors and ingredients each week. Every cheesecake is a wonderful surprise! That particular night, Sherry and I shared a piece of St. Brendan’s Sweet Potato Cheesecake, made with St. Brendan’s Irish Cream, and served within a graham cracker pecan crust, topped with fresh whipped cream and a caramel vanilla drizzle. A fantastic end to our delicious dinner, served in a real chef’s “home.”
Joe’s has some terrific new items on the menu, like personalized steaks, and Ricky always has a new catch of the day. They also have a full bar now, and they make some of their own infused liquors, along with some great craft cocktails. Mari is a sommelier, so diners at Joe’s can be sure they’ll experience some new wines along with their familiar favorites. The restaurant features a main dining room, a charming courtyard, and upstairs room, each with a seating capacity of up to fifty guests. For more information or to make reservations, call (904) 321-2558 or visit www.joesbistro.com.