Bartenders still shake martinis the old-fashioned way at the new iteration of Original Joe's.
It isn’t the original Original Joe’s, just a loving reproduction of the Tenderloin institution that burned down five years ago. The new location sports the same red booths and dark wood beams. But you don’t eat at Joe’s to taste the latest fashions. You go to feel like a part of the city as it once was, when waiters wore tuxedos and shook martini shakers and the sole piccata came with a side of pasta. Maybe you order the Joe’s Special, a hash of ground beef, eggs, spinach, and onions that’s been widely imitated but rarely equaled, not because other line cooks lack the skill but because other places lack the ambience. Yes, you could complain that the shellfish in shrimp cocktail are too mealy and that the Caesar salad has no anchovy kick, but why would you? Joe’s is like a cherished relative returned to your life after a long absence. Embrace it as it is or not at all. 601 Union St. (bet. Stockton St. and Columbus Ave.), S.F., 415-775-4877 $$$ RW **