Published: October 16, 2008
Joel's restaurant in Mooresville lives up to the recommendations of its longtime fans. After reading rave reviews online for the Asian food at Joel's, I was ready to try it out for myself.
Patrons are met with a Tiki Hut theme and a relaxed atmosphere. The wait staff was friendly and prompt, despite it being one of their busiest times during the day.
Joel himself came out onto the patio several times to greet longtime patrons and make sure everyone was doing OK and getting what they needed.
On the restaurant's Web site, they stress that they are a "decent, homegrown neighborhood enterprise," and as customer after customer was greeted by name, I believed it.
I am an egg roll addict, so I immediately ordered the Mama Ling's Deep Fried Veggie Egg Rolls for $4.95. The appetizer plate comes with four portions and a cup of soy sauce to dip them into. They were crispy on the outside and the vegetables were steamed to perfection on the inside. The sauce was an added bonus that was not salty like many soy sauces are and blended nicely with the rolls. Other appetizers include several types of dumplings, calamari, garlic flavored tofu cubes and, for the traditional American, wings in three different sauces. Appetizers average $5 to $7.
For my main course, I chose Pork and Chicken Adobo, which was branching out from my usual Sesame Chicken. The meat is "slowly cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic," according to the menu, and served with steamed rice and vegetables. The portions are plentiful and the meat was tender and could be cut with a fork. The rice was cooked perfectly and the vegetables were not soggy, as they can sometimes get when steamed. The garlic flavor in the meat was not overpowering and added to the overall effect nicely.
Other meals include almost every seafood, beef and chicken dish imaginable. Diners can pick the popular sweet and sour chicken or chow mein, or branch out and order sushi with grilled eel or octopus. Sushi prices are about the same as the appetizers, and grill or steakhouse options range from $10 to $20, depending on the meat. Steakhouse options also include onion and mushroom soup, salad and an appetizer in addition to the main course.
A special children's menu is available and even includes chicken nuggets for the picky eaters. Desserts are also served, and one can order Halo-Halo, a shaved ice treat, a grilled banana split or raspberry and mango cheesecake, all for about $5.
Joel's is located on Williamson Road, in the same shopping center as Harris Teeter.