Joe Beef is legit. Believe the hype. Go. Eat.
I suggest you improve your French culinary vocabulary to at least have some idea of what is laid before you on their massive chalkboard menu that changes daily. But if you’re a lazy American tourist like most of the restaurant’s customers these days, the servers are are bi-lingual and a great help in explaining the menu and offering suggestions.
We started with the lobster sausage (saucisson chaud de homard, petit farcis; not pictured below, sadly) on the recommendation of our waiter and it was fucking delicious. I stuck with the seafood for my entree and ordered the scallops (petoncles, corn chowder, clams, caviar) and Mrs. Diesel got the BBQ ribs and frites. For a pairing I went with the house Joe Beef pilsner and she tried the Bloody Caesar, basically a bloody mary topped with an oyster and shrimp garnish. Everything was excellent. The food was perfectly cooked, unpretentious and completely satisfying. The vibe was great and the staff really made sure we had a pleasant experience. It was the perfect meal to end an extremely gluttonous stay in Montreal.
To all the Joe Beef haters out there, step off. If you didn’t enjoy yourself, that’s on you and your horrible personality. Maybe you ordered the wrong thing or couldn’t get over the French barrier or were uncomfortable in the close quarters, but don’t try to take others down with you on Yelp. And to the heinous couple that clearly cut us in line while we were waiting to be seated: you can sit on your obnoxiously large Cannon DSLR lens that you busted out in the middle of dinner to take artsy photos of your dozen oysters. (I get that it’s the foodie thing to take pictures of your food and post them on your blog that no one reads, but have a little discretion. I’m guilty of this too (uh, gallery below!), but I used my phone with the flash off and didn’t immediately whip out my camera when I saw our plates approaching the table. There is no need for an 18 megapixel photo of French Fries unless you were hired by Savuer.) Besides the camera, the girl had to get up from her seat and stand in the middle of the dining room to stare at the menu board for a solid 5 minutes, only to decide to split the same BBQ ribs entree with her date. Really? You come to Joe Beef, probably with a reservation made weeks in advance, and you go with oysters and share probably the safest menu option? No wonder the French hate us.