Joey G’s Italian Kitchen
There is a new kid on the block or, I should say, on Grape Street. Joey Grisafi (owner of Corked Wine Bar in Bethlehem) opened Joey G’s Italian Kitchen in June. Joey G’s is very casual but a big step up from a walk-in pizzeria where Joey says you will find “No Bada, No Bing – just great Italian food”.
The aroma of garlic whets your appetite as soon as you walk in the door and follows you to your table. We visited on a Saturday night and a few tables were already taken at 6:00. It was obvious that most were repeat patrons which I liked. We had torrential rain that evening and I was surprised there were so many people there.
Our server, Sydney, brought to our table wonderful freshly baked buttery bread with grated garlic and parmesan cheese that we enjoyed with an Italian Salad of crisp Romaine, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, roasted peppers, olives and sharp provolone. This generous salad was very fresh and chilled proving to be a great starter. We followed up the salad with Crispy Garlic Shrimp. This dish was delicious – battered, fried shrimp tossed in salt, pepper and roasted garlic served over toast. This appetizer was served very hot to the table and the crispy shrimp were fresh and delicious. Tom and I both loved this dish.
Everything at Joey G’s is made fresh on premises including sausage and breads, except for their Hoagie Rolls, which currently come from Amoroso’s Bakery. Every dish is carefully crafted using the freshest ingredients “Just like Nona used to make.”
Joey G’s is BYOB and while studying the rest of the menu, we sipped a lovely 2004 Altos de la Guardia Rioja Reserva that we brought from home. There are five other salad features in addition to other appetizers include Mussels Marinara, Fried Calamari as well as Spinach and Artichoke Nachos or Bruschetta Pomodoro both of which you may order “Joey Style” by adding crabmeat for an upcharge.
I ordered Veal Picatta as my entrée – sauteed tender veal with lemon, butter sauce, capers, artichoke hearts and roasted peppers served over linguine. Veal Picatta is one of my favorite Italian dishes and this version did not disappoint. Tom chose Shrimp Scampi loaded with garlic, lemon and butter sauce. He ordered it “Joey Style” and had it topped with crabmeat that was plentiful, fresh and very rich. Both of these generous portions arrived steaming to the table and we were happy to take more than half of each home to enjoy the next day.
Other entrees on the menu include Chicken or Veal Parmesan or Marsala; Eggplant Florentine rolled with spinach, ricotta and mozzarella baked with marinara and mozzarella; White Clam sauce of baby whole clams, EVOO, garlic and red pepper over pasta; Nona’s Lasagna; Penne Al Forno and Zuppe di Pesce – garlic, EVOO, clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp in a marinara broth with red peppers.
There are nine Pasta Bowls listed that offer a choice of spaghetti, penne, linguine or Angel Hair with the following sauces: Pomodoro; Vodka (proscuitto, marinara and vodka cream); Puttanesca (marinara, capers, anchovies and olives); Alfredo; Garlic and Oil; Carbonara; Spicy Fra Diavolo; Bolognese and Giardino (fresh broccoli, spinach, artichokes, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives, roasted peppers in white wine, garlic and oil). Four variations of Risotto are also available—Creamy Parmesan; Truffle Mushroom, Vegetable or Sicilian with ham, onions, peas, and carrots.
A Margherita Pizza, with a thin, crispy crust, arrived at the table next to us and the gentleman there said is was very good. It was served very hot and he had to wait a few minutes to dig in. Choose from 17 listed pizza specialty creations that include Pineapple and Ham, Chicken Parmesan or Shrimp Fra Diabolo in addition to plain cheese, Sausage, Peppers and Onions or Quattro Formaggi (4 cheese). You may also create your own pizza from any of Joey G’s Toppings. Other diners were indulging in stromboli and sandwiches while the family a few tables up were thrilled that they had a Kids Menu.
Sous Chef Bradley Blocker created an amazing Godiva Chocolate Creme Brûlée for dessert that I enjoyed immensely with a hot Cappuccino. All desserts were made in-house and included Tiramisu, Cherry Cheesecake, Limoncello Cake and Chocolate Espresso Cake.
Joey G’s is located at 1063 Grape Street, Whitehall across from the Lehigh Valley Mall where Heavenly Ham once was. This is a great choice for lunch or dinner after a day of shopping, or a good place to take your children. There’s nothing fancy here except the classic Italian food and a wonderful mix of music playing softly in the background. The dining room has red banquettes along the wall with well-spaced tables for two that can be joined to accommodate larger parties. Opposite are tables for four which are comfortable and also well-spaced.
Stop in at Joe G’s Italian Kitchen the next time you are in Whitehall. Step away from the many chain restaurants in the area and give it a try. I think you find it a pleasant experience of great casual Italian food with friendly service. Call 610.443.0749 or log onto joeygitalian.com for additional information. You can also follow them on Facebook, Joey G’s Italian Kitchen.