Joe Jack’s Fish Shack: Puerto Vallarta

It was my first night back in Puerto Vallarta, wobbly from a long flight that started way to early.  It seemed sensible to eat someplace safe, someplace I have eaten before and knew what to expect.  So I hightailed it over to one of my favorite restaurants here, Joe Jack’s Fish Shack. For 95 pesos (about $7.65 USD) they have the best fish tacos in town, made with fresh out of the sea local fish.  They also have fish and chips just in case you aren’t feeling Mexican.  After some hemming and hawing I decided to not have my usual red wine, but to go local and have a Margarita.

The menu is chock full of wonderful stuff, but it was the specials of the day that made me change my mind from fish tacos to a local Sea Bass served with a tomatillo and bean salsa for 135 Peso ($10.85 USD)
The thing about Margaritas is that they taste too good and you forget they have tequila in them and you tend to drink them too fast.  So by the time I ordered I’d already finished mine so when the waiter asked after he took my dinner order if I wanted another I said: no.  Then I said:  Who am I kidding, I’d love another one.
The first thing placed on the table is a wonderful selection of Cucumber and Jicama slices sprinkled with pepper powder that you squeeze lime over and devour.  It’s perfect: fresh, crunchy, spicy and  refreshing (not to mention good for you).

It says on the menu that ceviche is a house specialty so I got an order of the traditional Corvina ceviche for 75 peso ($6 USD).  It comes with a generous portion of tortilla chips and was a meal in and of itself.  Filled with tomatoes, lime and oily fish chunks it was the perfect foil to the chips. I added some hot sauce and appreciated how well the fish blended in with all the other flavors.  I’m not a big fan of overly fishy ceviche.

Joe Jack’s is a two story restaurant.  Downstairs is the bar and several tables that look out onto Calle Basilio Badillo and upstairs is a wonderful terrace all decked out with old movie posters and colorful lights.

After I gobbled down my ceviche as if it was my last meal there was a lull.  The edge to my hunger had been removed and the two Margaritas had taken away any other edge I might have had.  Here I was sitting on this beautiful terrace eating fresh well prepared seafood enjoying the cool night sea air, what could be wrong?  I started to play with my iPhone, the great time waster, and remembered that I downloaded an old camera app called Hipstamatic.  You can change lenses and film to get different affects.  It occurred to me it was taking a while for my Bass to come out when I saw a couple who sat down after me get their food, but just as I thought that the waitress (I had two people serve me that night, they must work as a team) come over to my table and place another Margarita on my table.

Your food is taking too long this is on the house.

They make a really good Margarita at Joe Jacks.  At this point I didn’t care if my food ever came.  Of course it arrived minutes later looking as good as anything you’d find in a fancy NYC restaurant.  And it was delicious.  The Bass had crispy skin and moist flesh, the tomatillo added a tart citrus note while the beans anchored the whole dish with their wonderful smooth earthiness.
By the end of Margarita number 3 my photographs started to take on a different feel…

Basilio Badillo 212
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
Open Daily Noon to 11pm

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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