Piranha Joe's Is the Culinary Equivalent of "Weekend at Bernie's"

Pirhana Joe.jpg
This is Piranha Joe's namesake: the MOST EVIL fish in the world!
Piranha Joe's appeals to the kind of lackadaisical beach bums who wish they were Jimmy Buffett but usually end up being accountants. If male, they own a hat made of wicker and drive a Chevy truck that has a lei hanging from the rearview mirror. If female, they have a personal html page with pink text on a black background and a glittery graphic that follows the cursor around. Is the quote attached to your Outlook signature "Dance like no one's watching, work like you don't need the money, sing like there's nobody listening?" Then you'll LOVE Piranha Joe's! You'll love it like you've never been hurt!

Like Pasta Freska, Piranha Joe's seems like the pilot location for a chain restaurant. Normally I would scoff, but when I drove past Piranha Joe's sign outside the old Keg Steakhouse location in Burien, I was pulled into its orbit, as though it were a star made of beef, fish, and whatever the hell else it is that Piranha Joe's sells. Cheesy steakhouses are as irresistible to me as trampling on civil rights is to Mormons. So we went inside.

The menu is a literary cocktease: The cover is emblazoned with goofy Photoshopped images of jellyfish, and lionfish, sea turtles, sea horses, and starfish. I hoped you'd be able to order these undersea exotics, but I was disappointed because the most unusual meat available is alligator. However, I was excited to see alligator on the menu, because I fucking love it; in my lifetime I've eaten as much alligator meat as your mom has eaten cock.

The alligator on a stick seemed, at $19.95, to be absurdly expensive, so we got the alligator fritters ($8.95) instead. For this price we got a couple fried doughy discuses, brown and leathery like a hyena's teats, and studded with pink cubes of alligator meat. The pastry seemed stale, but the alligator meat was fresh and tender. These came with a big pool of chunky pink red bell pepper aioli. Don't worry about this shit; just dip these motherfuckers in ketchup and be done with it already. Better yet, if you want alligator, go to Toulouse Petit instead.

The soup of the day was lobster bisque. A cup of this salty orange goop was $3.95. It was really creamy, the color and texture of a melted Creamsicle, and had lots of little chunks of what I only hope was lobster meat. This bisque was so thick that if you flicked it all over a fat kid as he rode by on his scooter, he'd get really annoyed.

A classic cheeseburger ($9.95) was not as GREAT as the menu proclaimed. The patty was a prefab puck of beef, grilled medium well, with a melted drapery of cheddar, lettuce, and tomato slices, and an interesting nest of thinly-sliced fried onion rings on top, on a typical sesame seed bun. It was good enough, as far as Sysco burgers go, and at least the fries were crispy.

The blackened redfish was, for $17.95, a pretty good price for a huge filet the size of a clown's shoe. It was flaky and seasoned with a dusty orange coating of spices, and was accompanied by a pile of lightly sautéed green beans and a baked potato. The beans were a bit crisp, and the potato comes jam-packed with way too much shit on it: busty globes of whipped butter, soft peaks of sour cream, diced chives, shredded cheddar, mealy bacon bits. It had fluffy flesh and a dry crispy skin, but all that crap on top just ended up confusing me. Generally I prefer my baked potatoes with butter and salt, but I wanted the full Piranha Joe's experience--so I got it with everything. It was so damn sloppy. That potato looked like your mom after a long weekend!

Finally, pineapple upside down cake was $5.95 for an individual cake, topped with a ring of pineapple, with a side blob of vanilla ice cream. The cake was steamy inside, as if it had been recently microwaved, and so sweet my pancreas tried to squeeze its way out of my butthole and run off.

Piranha Joe's is cheesy. It's the culinary equivalent of Weekend at Bernie's. If you like to wear Tommy Bahama shirts and your Oakley sunglasses on the back of your head sometimes, and you really like the idea of eating at Red Lobster but would prefer to spend your hard-earned dollars at a local business instead of a faceless corporate chain, then set sail for Piranha Joe's, post motherfucking haste!

Rating: 5 beach bums out of 10

Piranha Joe's is located at 180 SW 148th St in Burien. For reservations, call 206-244-4000

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