Joe Marty's hits a home run due to Sampino's takeover

chicken piccata
I might live only three blocks away from it for the last 12 years, yet I never did go to the old Joe Marty's or the new until this last week. I'm probably better off for waiting that long. After all, the old Joe Marty's struck me as mostly a sports bar with typical bar type food. Then it burned down and the spot lay vacant for a number of years. When new owners opened hoping to ride the wave of nostalgia, it seemed to do OK business. Then earlier this year Sampino's took it over and I am feeling pretty lucky to have it so close now. And, to be clear, the official new name is Sampino's Kitchen at Joe Marty's

For a little history, Joe Marty's was opened in 1938 by an ex-baseball player and his friend. At that time Edmunds Field occupied the site of today's Target. You can see what the area looked like thanks to a giant photograph adorning a wall. 
"In the bar, almost every square inch of wall space is covered with autographed pictures of baseball greats and not-so-greats. There are quite a few of Joe DiMaggio, who played with Marty on the San Francisco Seals. The 1936 Pacific Coast League batting champion with San Francisco, Marty also played in the big leagues for the Cubs and Phillies, then played for the Sacramento Solons. Marty opened his namesake bar-cum-pizza joint in 1938 and it was the place to see and be seen through the ’50s and ’60s. It was then owned for many years by Marty’s long-time friend Noboru Keiunji, who can still be found most nights at the bar."  Liz Kellar 2002
The above description (pre-fire) pretty much explains the decor today, just fresh and new because of the rebuild after the fire. 

We came in after seeing a movie at the Tower and because I knew Sampino'shad taken it over. Now when it comes to Sampino's, I'd only ever been once due to its location and its hours, but I knew its reputation. Their location at 16th and F has been known for its fine Italian delicatessen, house made cannoli and tiramisu, and their Friday night dinners. I was looking forward to trying the food now at Joe Marty's

It's no surprise that the menu is Italian focused now. Better yet, good Italian.

We ordered two entrees and they came with a choice of salad or minestrone. No brainer here. You need to order the minestrone. This soup was hearty and robust, full of flavor. The tomato base is tangy and rich. No watery soup here. Within is a load of vegetables. I didn't happen to notice if the minestrone can be ordered a la carte, but it would certainly be a great meal on its own.

I'm pretty much a sucker for Chicken Piccata as soon as I see it offered on a menu. This was also packed with flavor with a thicker sauce than some. I loved it with just two reservations. The chicken arrived sliced and I would have preferred my chicken filet be left whole for me to cut. Mostly because chicken can be dry and I'd prefer it be left alone to help retain juices. The other is the lack of many capers. I love capers and so when I order piccata I like to have them. They were there, and I think they were blended into the sauce more than whole, but I need me some capers. 

My friend ordered the Eggplant Parmesan. I've never been a chicken or eggplant parmesan fan and so I did not try it. It did look just as well prepared as the soup and my piccata though. As you can see, entrees came with garlic bread and a vegetable side. 

We didn't have dessert, but they do offer those famed cannoli and tiramisu I mentioned earlier. 

I  mentioned to my friend how lucky I am to have such great food within walking distance from me now. With Masullo's, Selland's, South, Iron Steaks, and all the other nearby R Street/Southside additions, I'm in foodie heaven. Now to have Sampino's Joe Marty's added with its fine Italian, I'm stoked!

Addendum 7/7/17
I was told recently by a chef that used to work there that they do not really cook at the Joe Marty's kitchen. It is reheated items from Sampino's. While I can understand this to some extent, the amount the practice goes to is questionable. And is the stuff made at Sampino's made from scratch? I have to assume it is. But I found this news a bit troubling, especially just after having posted this positive review. I felt I needed to add this statement to the bottom of this post else I be called out as a fool for this review.