Perhaps you’re actually old enough to remember and relish the era of Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio and his 1941 record hitting streak (56 consecutive games). Or perhaps you’re just someone, like me, who every so often imagines hopping into a time machine, slipping into a dark gray flannel suit, cuff links and fedora for an evening of decadent wine and Italian food surrounded by dark mahogany walls, high-backed leather booths, crystal chandeliers and Marilyn Monroe peering at you from across the room. Either way, if you’re in San Francisco, you’re bound to end up at Joe Dimaggio’s Italian Chophouse.
Dimaggio’s streak began on May 15, 1941. Between that date and July 16, fifty-six games later, DiMaggio hit safely in every game, becoming the toast of America’s pastime and setting a record that still stands as one of the greatest in the history of the sport.
The decor at Dimaggio’s San Francisco (a second restaurant under the same name resides in Austin, Texas) is dark and romantic, yet simultaneously ultra-exposing, presenting itself as a place where those in the limelight might want to be seen pretending that “being seen” is, in fact, the absolute last thing they want. The lush booths outline the rest of the seating area, so diners are all more or less presented indiscreetly to one another, making it all the more fun to indulge excessively and one-up the fun you might see being had at a neighboring table.
The menu is just what you’d expect from a chop house – Porterhouse, Filet Mignon, Ribeye, New York Strip, along with a bountiful selection of pastas, pizza and a eye-popping wine list. The appetizers are equally satisfying. In my two visits, my dining partners and I have sampled the gnocchi with brown butter and pecorino, saffron risotto, and parmesan potato gratin – all superb
This visit, I went with the fontina-stuffed meatballs and Gloria Green said hello to the wood oven lasagna. Equally satisfying is the seafood risotto and chicken parmesan. Desserts include a fuji apple crisp, chocolate souffle, and tiramisu. This time around however, there was just no room for dessert.
As for the name of the joint, my most-thorough questioning of the staff has led me to believe the family has merely licensed the name, and perhaps donated the multitude of pics and memorabilia that adorn the walls. No matter, Joe Dimaggio’s Chop House is one of the best destination eateries in North Beach, swimming in nostalgia, and was the culinary high point of my most recent San Francisco visit.
Joe Dimaggio’s Italian Chop House
601 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94133