Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse inFolsom has quietly been making customers happy for over five years now. They aren’t doing it that quietly though, as anyone who has ever tried to get a seat at the Folsom Prime Time (6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) can attest to. Really just about anytime at “Joe’s” means a short wait unless you’re planning to sit in the bar or out on the patio, which during the summer can be quite pleasant. The atmosphere or motif is that of an old ski lodge, both inside and out. Someone went to a lot of trouble to collect all types of Tahoe memorabilia and it really helps set the mood.
Most folks seem to come to Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse for the steaks. They have so many of them including New York Strip, Ponderosa Sirloin, Joe’s Ribeye, Virginia City Filet, Tahoe T-Bone and my favorite, the Joe’s Steak, which is a well seasoned Tri-Tip slow roasted for 12 hours in the restaurants ovens. Tahoe Joe’s also offers a number of chicken, fish and salad dishes. For the bar crowd or those people who think that their dinner is not going to fill theme up, there are some great and somewhat creative appetizers.
My favorite is the sizzling Mushroom Skillet. Served at the table in a cast iron skillet, the mushrooms contain butter, garlic, wine, scallions and just a little more butter. It comes to your table literally smoking all the way from the kitchen. Served with sourdough dipping bread, they are excellent. Joe’s dinner salads are nothing to laugh about either, with the best croutons (more about the croutons later) this side of the Sierras and a choice of seven different homemade salad dressings. Their blue cheese dressing is awesome.
Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse is actually a corporate owned subsidiary of a larger restaurant chain (I don’t want to tell you who, as it may change your opinion) that wanted to have an upscale steakhouse chain in their portfolio. The gentleman (not named Joe by the way) who created the original Joe’s in Fresno; still visits them on a semi-regular basis. One night while we were dining he came by our table as we were having our salads and asked how things were. When I told him I loved the croutons and dressings, his eyes lit up and he said, “you can tell a lot about a restaurant by its’ croutons.” He said it was one of the important details he still concerns himself with at Joe’s. There are currently nine Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouses in California, with a tenth to open on Howe Avenue any day.
Tahoe Joe’s makes everything from scratch, unlike so many other chain type restaurants out there. Their Mountain Mashers, mashed red potatoes made with a lot of half and half and butter, are terrific. The sautéed Blue Lake Green Beans are always served fresh and not over cooked. Even the Black Jack Burger is a taste treat, and is ample enough to easily be split between the kids. Joe’s does offer a children’s menu as well. There are two things to avoid at Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse. The first is the soup, except when they are having chowder. The second is the wine list, boring.
At Tahoe Joe’s, always leave room for the homemade Nevada Cheesecake. Not too many restaurants in Folsom, much less Sacramento are making their own desserts, much less cheesecake and it really is a treat. The Ski Jump Chocolate Cake is great too, but is the only item not made on site. Tahoe Joe’s offers a great place for a casual meal for the family, a fun place to meet with friends and quiet enough to have a great meal with the spouse. Tahoe Joe’s is open everyday at 4:00 p.m. “Call ahead” reservations are taken, but advance reservations are not. They open early on Fridays and stay open late on the weekends. Joe’s also has a great food to-go program. But be hungry when you go and enjoy yourself.
2-person dinner + wine: $45
Overall rating (out of 5): 4.5
Reviewed by Randy Aspinall
191 Blue Ravine Rd