Eileen Fischer and Lee Steele visited Joseph’s Steakhouse in Bridgeport to get their red-meat fix. Here’s the conversation that followed:
Eileen Fischer: I always notice Joseph’s when waiting for the light there on my way to Route 8 after work. I like its eye-catching deep-red exterior with gold accents and simple gold-lettering. That’s what I think of when I think steakhouse — masculine, no fuss, strong-yet-silent type of establishment.
Lee Steele: A gent can really feel like a gent in there, and a lady can feel like she invaded a man cave.
Eileen: A handsome carved bar greets guests with a bartender dressed in a white shirt, bow tie and apron and German beer steins lining the walls.
Lee: It’s an oasis neighboring an insane traffic circle, a highway on-ramp and nondescript office buildings.
Eileen: For appetizers, we ordered a shrimp cocktail with a lovely cocktail sauce and something the bartender said was very popular with customers. It was quite the slab of meat.
Lee: What a bizarre thing to see on the menu — just “Bacon — grilled extra thick.” Yet online, diners raved, and now I know why. I found the shrimp to be pristine and fresh, probably a better prelude to a steak dinner than grilled bacon.
Eileen: Joseph’s has been here since 2000, and since we work up the street, I imagine you’ve been here before.
Lee: Yes, but not for years. I remember one time I was having a really bad day at work and decided to treat myself to a burger and a glass of wine at the bar.
Eileen: And did you feel better?
Lee: Absolutely! Just being treated so royally restored my equilibrium.
Eileen: Back to the present. I also ordered a bowl of lobster bisque soup that was very meaty and creamy.
Lee: I nibbled from the bread basket, and then it occurred to me that a bread basket isn’t something a lot of restaurants offer anymore.
Eileen: For the entree, we had the porterhouse steak for two that came with a rather pampering presentation.
Lee: It was billed “for two,” but it could have fed four. The owner came over and sliced some chunks off the bone. He seared some of the rare ends in the juice, instantly rendering them medium.
Eileen: Our sides were fries and creamed spinach that you particularly enjoyed.
Lee: It was bright green and rich with flavor. Not so watery like in more famous steakhouses.
Eileen: The housemade steak sauce was good, but reminded me more of cocktail sauce.
Lee: Yeah, a little sweet. But it worked. I thought a really expensive steak shouldn’t be coated in steak sauce, but I found myself dipping anyway, just like I did with the bacon appetizer.
Eileen: The entire dinner menu was available at lunch along with a few other lunch items, but steak is the showpiece here.
Lee: But you have to remember their rule of thumb.
Eileen: The waiter said they cook steaks a little under what people order. So we both ordered ours pink and indeed the redder sections of the meat did seem to change color at the table. I held back from ordering well done, which I’m sure would have horrified both you and the waiter.
Lee: If you want a $79 porterhouse well done, you’d might as well throw money on the flame instead. Perhaps you’d be interested in the broiled salmon or chicken?
360 Fairfield Ave. Bridgeport, 203-337-9944, www.josephssteakhouse.com
HOURS: Lunch: Monday-Friday noon-3 p.m.; Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5-9:30 p.m.; Friday, Saturday 5-10:30 p.m.; Sunday 5-9:30 p.m.
CREDIT CARDS: All major
PRICES: Lunch: sandwiches $13-19; dinner menu available at lunch, appetizers $8-22; entrees $25-$159 (T-bone steak for four), vegetables a la carte, $6-10