Tommy's Joynt, the Geary and Van Ness restaurant painted with busty Gold Rush damsels, seems like one of those places that everyone knows and no one has visited. I was among that number until last night.
We stopped in after the Mikkeller tasting at Amsterdam Cafe, and, as one could say about all too many experiences, it seemed like a good idea at the time. When we entered, an upset patron was leaving, screaming something about how he'd tell his whores not to visit again.
After that romantic leave-taking, I read some Chowhound recommendations for lamb shank, but there was no lamb on the menu. Instead we split the brisket plate, which came with mashed potatoes and a choice of vegetable. You line up and place your order with one of the guys working the carving station; he loads your plate and passes you down to the veg station.
"Gravy?" asked the guy behind the counter, a gravy-filled ladle dangling above our plate. When I turned to check with my guy, I heard the clink of the ladle back into the gravy vat and realized it had been a statement of fact and not a question. So we got gravy on the meat and the potatoes. Not bad gravy.
As for the rest of the food, the brisket was OK. Not good, but also not bad. The baked beans, which were advertised as house made, were very sugary and didn't have the chunks of salted pork that I'd seen mentioned. We'll not speak of the potatoes. The portion was generous for the price: less than $10 for the brisket plate with a roll and butter, and we added a piece of stale carrot cake for another $2. Overall, nothing in the meal was particularly well handled, so I can see how the dishes that require long slow cooking and little else might be more successful, like the brisket and the shank. If you really like your food in gradations of beige, this might be heaven.
Cash only; there's an ATM in the building. The beer menu was more impressive than I expected, but we were burned out after too many Mikkellers down the lane.