Original Joe's in North Beach [San Francisco]
Ate at their Tenderloin location back in the 1980's and really enjoyed it, though I was much younger and hungrier in those days. How is the food at the North Beach location? I admit to being a sucker for old school kind of places like Tadich, Sam's and John's Grill. My wife and I ate at Ristorante Milano which we liked on our last couple of visits, so thought we might give Joe's a try. Thoughts?
I've been there a number of times since it reopened at its new location a year or two ago. (or however long it has been.)
Overall, the food is good, not great.
I think the best things to order are their italian tossed salad, and hamburger. Maybe lasagne.
Their fish is okay, as are their lamb chops, but there are definitely better places to get both of these (my choice for each of these would probably be tadich and bob's, respectively)
re: little big al
Hamburger steak is the best I've ever had as mentioned.
Italian chopped salad is killer.
Joe's Special is just that.
Charbroiled rare burger between two wedges of sourdough is also exceptionally juicy and flavorful.
Yes it's not the best steakhouse in town, but that's not why you visit. It's an institution and you go for the atmosphere, the good (sometimes great within boundaries) classic dishes, perfectly made and generously poured cocktails, and for me personally - the Thursday night jazz trio in the lounge!
Their steaks and chops are perfectly servicable. I think thei porterhouse is very good. I wouldn't rate it on a top anything list, but it's flavorful, cooked just right (black and blue) and some of their sides, like the french fries, are outstanding.
The rest is just good simple fare in a unqiue setting (I'm well aware of the history of the building and Joe's franchise but it's still rich with civic heritage and the interior is really well done and looks timeless) - hard to go wrong imo.
I'd go back anytime for that charbroiled hamburger steak and a couple of manhattans though!
Be aware that the new Original Joe's is a bit more polished and more expensive than the old Original Joe's. The food is as good, if not better, than it used to be.