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  • Reservations Recommended

    Restaurant Review ~ Tadich Grill / 1001 Pa. Ave., NW

    West Coast in DC. Looking for a primo seafood restaurant? You do not need a trip to San Francisco to treat yourself to plenty of fresh catch fashioned into superlative dishes. That, DC foodies, is thanks to the recent import of San Francisco’s old-timer, Tadich Grill, which opened its second area location a few months ago downtown.

    Because of its high-end reputation, Tadich Grill is certainly crowded, at least at lunchtime. So call ahead and reserve your table so you can sit down to a scrumptious feast. Where to start? As you enjoy the freshly baked bread that arrives with drinks — wine or cocktails, either way you win — you may be stumped by the almost infinite number of menu options.

    Shrimp? Lobster? Crabmeat? Oysters? Swordfish? The choices do focus on seafood, of course, though for meat eaters, the kitchen does offer braised lamb shanks, prime rib, and a pork rib chop, among others. But, obviously, the focus here, as in it parent San Francisco restaurant, is fresh seafood wrapped up in exquisite combinations.

    One such unexpected delight is the sherry-spiked lobster bisque, a richly creamy and very hearty meal starter. Frankly, even if the outdoors temperature were 110 degrees, this would be a first choice. But you can also consider the deviled eggs with smoked salmon and trout roe or the crunchy fried calamari. In fact, starter choices must all be top rate; too bad patrons can’t eat one of everything.

    As for main courses, the renowned cioppino (the fisherman’s stew originating in San Francisco by, of course, local fishermen) is perhaps the restaurant’s number one best-seller, both in SF and DC. Reputedly created by either Italian or Portuguese fishermen, this stew reputedly started as a way for the fishing boat crews to cook up fresh catch to feed themselves and family. As the stew has been polished over the years to become an elegant entrée, the mix of seafood may change, depending on what is freshly available, but it will surely consist of shellfish (mussels, clams, and shrimp  most likely) and fresh catch, from swordfish to salmon. The joy of this creation is that it can vary and still be absolutely delicious. And when you order it, be sure to have plenty of bread to dunk in the fishy soup base.

    But you can aim to enjoy so much more: deep-fried, casseroled, sautéed, or grilled fish and seafood, and if you are lucky, California sand dabs, the tiny, sweet and delicate fish native to local SF waters.

    And whatever you select, saving room for dessert is a must-do. The caramel bread pudding with a bourbon caramel sauce is moist and appealing. Dessert selections are currently limited, but the thought is that soon the sweets list will expand. And Tadich Grill DC is also planning to open a takeout section, making it simpler for folks who want to eat fab food on the run.

    Tadich Grill DC /  Lunch & dinner daily; closed Sundays. 202-638-1849; www.tadichgrill.com.

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    Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, editor, and restaurant reviewer. She has authored books on Asian and Mexican cuisines published by Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, and Macmillan. Other credits include restaurant reviews and food articles for national and regional publications, as well as former editor of the Vegetarian Times and former food editor/writer for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Click here to visit her website.