I want to marry Tadich Grill — if, you know, humanoid-restaurant unions were socially accepted, and legally recognized.
The restaurant has been around for 159 years — in its current location since 1967 — and is a total legend in San Francisco.
Tadich is old-school, with almost an old-boy’s club feel in the dark wood, the brass wall
scones sconces and coat hangers, and the crisp, white jackets worn by the servers.
It’s easy to see why a quarter of Tadich’s daily 800 customers are regulars. You immediately feel like this well-oiled machine is going to take good care of you.
I had been warned about a regular half-hour wait at peak times for Tadich, which doesn’t take reservations, so we timed our arrival for earlier than when we actually wanted to eat dinner.
But the moons must have been aligned or something, because as soon as we walked in, the man behind the bar yelled, “BARRY! TABLE FOR TWO!”
I was in love.
There’s a long wooden bar on one side of the restaurant, and booths and nooks on the other. We got a little table for two in front of a big mirror and a bowl of halved lemons.
When Barry, our baritone, pretend-gruff, but super-nice server asked what I wanted to drink, I stupidly said, “A Caesar?” betraying my Canadianness. I opted instead for a Bloody Mary, and Jason got a locally brewed beer.
A plate of fresh sourdough and butter soon came. I sipped my oh-very-strong drink as we perused Tadich’s gigantic menu, which is printed off every day with more than two dozen lunch and house specials next to the straight-forward, regular items. Regulars swear by the various sautéed and pan-fried filets.
We started with a sliced tomato quartet salad ($15), four beefsteak tomato slices on iceberg lettuce, topped with a big prawn, crab, baby shrimp and anchovy. It was so simple, so fresh, and so good.
On Barry’s recommendation, we had it with Louie dressing, which turned out to be a delicious, homemade sauce similar to Thousand Island.
Jason’s crab and lobster thermidor ($29.25) looked like what I expected: a casserole dish with a golden-brown cheese crust. But underneath, it was ALL seafood meat in the classic creamy, mustardy sauce.
We expected it to have some sort of starch filler on the bottom because who serves that much crab and lobster meat in one dish? Apparently, Tadich does!
I took the plunge and ordered the seafood cioppino ($24.50) after I asked Barry if it was good and he replied, “It’s the best thing on the menu.” I knew he wasn’t lying because I heard him say the same thing to the table behind us too.
Cioppino is the Italian version of French bouillabaisse. This fish broth was packed with clams, prawns, scallops, bay shrimp, crab and white fish. Oh. My. It was sooo good. Two thick pieces of garlic bread that came on the side was handy for sopping up the soup.
Neither of us could finish our portions, much less have any room for dessert. When we told Barry that, he swatted at me with a menu. Jason thought that was quite entertaining.
Good. He doesn’t suspect that I’m plotting to elope with the Tadich Grill.
Tadich Grill, 240 California St., San Francisco, (415) 391-1849. Open weekdays 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.