Restaurants come and go – sometimes so quickly it makes your head spin. Then there’s Tadich Grill– the third oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country. The restaurant was founded 167 years ago in San Francisco and is still going strong. The second location has just opened in the center of Washington, DC, and it’s a fitting companion to the original. I had an opportunity recently to visit the restaurant and explore a wide variety of dishes, including seafood specialties and so much more.
Tadich Grill brings to DC some of the dishes that make it a mainstay in San Francisco- think cioppino, oysters Rockefeller, and seafood stew. The restaurant also acknowledges the bounties of the east coast, which gives Chef Wil Going an opportunity to flip back and forth between coastal cuisines and ingredients.
Tadich Grill actually feels as if it’s been in this spot at 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue for years. It looks traditional, with dark mahogany tables and white tablecloths. The average age of the wait staff is 52, so experience reigns supreme. Despite the classic feel, there are some unexpected twists.
The menu is enormous with 75 entrees, but it’s printed daily to reflect availability of fresh ingredients. Can’t decide which coast has the best crab? There’s a dueling appetizer called “Crab Coast to Coast” pitting Chesapeake lump crabcake with remoulade against dungeness crabcake with avocado crema. It’s hard to pick a favorite, so it’s a plus that there’s no need.
Tadich Grill’s most popular dish is an applause-worthy cioppino. The restaurant served an astounding 22,000 orders of this dish last year. Fresh ingredients and a satisfying hint of heat make this a winner.
There are an impressive variety of “cocktails” on the menu…of the non-alcoholic variety. Bay shrimp cocktail, jumbo lump crab cocktail, prawn cocktail, and more. Bay shrimp cocktail, hailing from the San Francisco bay- not the Chesapeake- are as light and refreshing as a cool breeze. This pairs nicely with a true liquid libation.
Chesapeake stew with Maryland crab cake, scallops, and shrimp is a rich and creamy concoction, well-suited for a chilly evening. I can’t stop myself from digging back in to retrieve sweet and tender scallops from any of the dishes where they appear.
While the Tadich menu is 70% seafood, a thick and juicy ribeye prepared on a mesquite charbroiler is well-worth a detour from the sea.
A rich slice of bread pudding is a fulfilling ending, particularly when paired with a fine cup of Illy coffee.
Many new restaurants are opening their doors in DC these days, and its a crowded field. Tadich Grill is well-positioned to become an institution in the nation’s capital, much like it’s sibling has staked its claim in San Francisco.
Tadich Grill, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC
Washingtonian article by Anna Spiegel: “San Francisco’s Iconic Tadich Grill Opens in DC”
Washington Post review by Tom Sietsema: “Scandal Aside, How Does it Stack Up?”