Joyeaux Cafe & Restaurant, from the outside, looks like one of those places that serves everything but doesn't seem to focus on anything. Going from what you can read when you pass the outside you can get: breakfast, lunch, snacks, salad bar, dinner, all day breakfast and authentic Vietnamese. I am a bit wary of the serve everything under the sun places as but, I heard this was the closest soup restaurant and I was looking for some pho.
The inside was much bigger than I had expected with giant arches on the ceiling. It gives the impression that it was some sort of Italian restaurant before Joyeaux moved in and they didn't do much redecorating. There is seating for groups plus seating at a communal type table in the middle with about 5 single seats by the door. There is a small balcony outside that would be lovely in the summer but is too cold for now.
It was a bit confusing on my first visit. You have to walk all the way through the restaurant to the back to do your ordering. The menu is printed on the wall in pictures and a chalkboard with specials. They really try to move you quickly through the line up. And boy, is there ever a line up. Even at my early lunch at 11:30, there was a line up that made it to the door and stayed there for most of the lunch hour. The cashier even has two debit machines running at once to try and move the line quickly. You are then given a tray with a number and then you need to find a place to sit.
There are no "wait to be seated" signs, but they are very specific about seating here. There is a host who will seat you. If you are a party of two, they will not let you sit at a table for four. They seem to have a complicated system, and there are always people waiting for tables, but I would say that is really a sign of how yummy the food is. I have mostly come here as a single diner and I wouldn't recommend larger groups between 11:30 and 1:00 as you will have a hard time getting a table together.
The menu focuses on Vietnamese food with some all day breakfast thrown in. I do like the option for pancakes whenever I want them, but I have yet to order them. My first visit I got the rare beef and beef ball pho.
I know it is not a very adventurous dish, but it is my favorite. I was really happy with the amount of beef and balls in the soup. The beef was rare and very tender. The broth was great and the perfect temperature. I was a bit surprised that the bean sprouts were under the noodles. I have a tendency to eat in layers so at the end of my first bowl I had a big pile of sprouts left. I have learned to stir it up a bit now.
My other favorite is the Wonton Noodle Soup. They give you the choice of "meat" wontons or shrimp. I went with meat.
I love the amount of wontons in the soup. My guess was that the "meat" was pork, but it could be a mixture. Either way they have a nice spice to them. I would top everything with those fried onions, given a choice. This seemed to be the same broth as in the pho and I again enjoyed it.
Both of these options run about $8.00 and I think they are the perfect size. The service here is efficient but not attentive. Once they serve your food, they are done with you. There is some self serve water available near the register.
Soup is one of my favorite things, especially in the fall and winter, so I know I will be fighting my way through the line-up here quite regularly.