Wining & Dining: Joseph’s Fine Dining

foodreviewBy John Hazlehurst

Until Gov. Jared Polis partially lifted the shelter-in-place regulations on May 26, Colorado restaurants had been closed to in-house diners since March 16.

After 70 days of home cooking, we were more than ready to eat out – but our eagerness was tempered by caution.  As seniors, we understand that the novel coronavirus is not just life-changing but potentially life-ending. We wanted to be sure that our first night out wouldn’t be our last!

We wanted a place that was spacious enough for effective social distancing, one long-established in Colorado Springs with an experienced staff and an owner of a certain age who would take our concerns seriously. And yeah, we wanted good food, reasonable prices, a great atmosphere and excellent customer service.

The decision was easy. We joined our pals Bruce and Natalie at Joseph’s Fine Dining, an elegantly casual establishment at 1603 S.  Eighth St. It wouldn’t be our first time there, nor will it be our last.

Owner Joseph Freyre has been in the restaurant business for more than 25 years. He apprenticed in five-star hotels and restaurants until opening Joseph’s. He’s created an interesting menu that he characterizes as “mixing the world of old table side flambé cooking with nouveau cuisine, which is sure to suit the tastes of even the most discriminating diner in Colorado Springs.”

I’m not sure that the four of us fall into the “discriminating diner” category, but Joseph’s was a great escape from our domestic lockups. It’s easy to find, there’s plenty of space in an adjacent parking lot, and the open, airy interior is perfect for diner distancing.

Karen and I started with a glass of a commendable house chardonnay, while Bruce and Natalie opted for mixed drinks. All the staff was appropriately masked, and the environment felt safe and healthy.

Karen started with the Southwestern shrimp cocktail, featuring enormous gulf prawns, clamato and V8 juice, diced onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro and avocado. She chose (and loved!) the grilled Idaho white trout filets for the main course. I opted for the seafood platter; fried calamari, breaded shrimp and crab stuffed mushrooms, served with chipotle aioli and marinara sauce. The shrimp cocktail was great, while the seafood platter (modestly billed as an appetizer) was a meal in itself. I passed on a main course.

In summary; the food was great, the service exceptional and the setting reassuring.

May COVID-19 disappear, may our restaurants remain open and thrive and may we cautious seniors feel safe and relaxed in all of our caring local eateries!

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