Original Joe's Italian Restaurant, San Jose
That may look like a horrifically charred slab in the photo, but in fact this is so deliciously juicy that I never order anything else when I'm here. The simplicity of this hamburger steak is part of the appeal: it is nothing but ground beef mixed with chopped onions and hardly any seasoning, thus allowing one to focus on its natural taste. This place (301 South First Street, 292-7030) was one of my usual late night places back in the day, and it's been ages since I've been back.
It's not even an Italian restaurant like the name suggests. It's American...and very old school American, which is actually part of its charm. I love the fact that they have counter service, tuxedoed waiters, and decor that has clearly persisted through the decades. Some folks that I've taken here hate this place, but I just love its character, especially when they are flame broiling meat on a grill.
Anyway, I gobbled this thing up like it was nobody's business. I can't complain when they bring out sourdough bread either...and something is just so amusing about being able to select your sides from not just the usual baked potato and French fry options, but even a small plate of spaghetti or ravioli. I opted for a (barely) healthier plate of vegetables though given all of the red meat that I was going to be consuming.