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.
Original Joe's is great! Skip the Italian, focus on the meat. Their charbroiled hamburger steak is the best I've ever had anywhere. The Joe's Special is a classic. I've had all of their steaks and chops; the porterhouse and ribeye are both good values and the prime rib and pork chop are very good too. Sweetbreads are also excellent if you go for that sort of thing. I always order a side of fries or creamed spinach. Most seem to go for their ravioli because it's a menu staple but I find it kind of watery and bland. The Italian chopped salad is great to share amongst a table as an appetizer; my personal favorite. Otherwise the iceberg wedge makes a good but heavy starter with a thick cut of sourdough to swab up the plate. All of their salads are really good if you're with a non meat eater. The traditional cocktails are perfectly executed. Try to go on a Thursday night and have a few pre-dinner cocktails and apps in the lounge while the Nick Rossi Trio burn through a set, then settle into one of the leather banquettes in the main dining room for dinner!