Tadich Grill — Lunch on 1 February 2017

On Wednesday, I had lunch at the Washington branch of San Francisco’s famed Tadich Grill, which by some measures is the country’s third oldest restaurant. The Washington branch, which opened a couple of years ago, is the first outpost of the grill in its 166 year history.

It’s across the street from the soon-to-be-demolished FBI building, and a block from the new Trump Hotel. I reminded myself that you can’t judge a restaurant by its neighbours, and went anyway.



I had the lobster bisque as a starter, and from the first sip, I was sure I tasted alcohol. The server hadn’t mentioned that bisque included a traditional shot of brandy. This is known as a happy surprise.



Tadich Grill’s Cioppino, an amazing combination of scallops, shrimp, clams, mussels, bay shrimp, white fish, dungeness crab, tomato, and garlic bread, is a show-stopper.

Like the galettes at the Breizh Café in Paris, the döner kebab from Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap in Berlin, and the palak chaat at Rasika here in Washington, Tadich Grill’s signature dish is internationally famous. If you’re ever on a quiz show, or taking your SATs, or trying to convince a customs agent that you’re really an American citizen, and you have to complete the sentence: “You haven’t really been to San Francisco until you’ve tasted…”.

Well, now you know the answer.*

Hot, spicy, and delicious, this classic was magnificent.



Once again, dessert was a letdown. The carrot cake was fine, but it was only a thin slice.

That was probably well thought-out, because after a relatively heavy meal, a big dessert would have been too much of a good thing. Nonetheless, I was a bit disappointed.

*No, it’s not Rice-A-Roni.


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