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Tadich Grill – Cioppino & clam chowder

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Tadich Grill – Cioppino & clam chowder

Krys | Mar 5, 2005 11:17 PM

Due to some computer problems, I went to Tadich’s Saturday Morning rather than Friday as I had planned.

As far as the cioppino, Scoma’s has the better fish, while Tadich’s has the better broth. If you could get Tadich’s broth (with a little less black pepper) and Scoma’s fish, you would really have something.

The link below is Melanie’s love letter to Tadich Grill. It remains one of my favorite posts and after visiting today, it made me chuckle a number of times. Nothing seems to change at Tadich Grill. As I said when Melanie wrote this, “If there is an afterlife, I'm sure you put a smile on Herb Caen's face”

Tadich opens a half hour later on Saturday at 11:30. I was there at 11 with a few other tourists. On Saturday, at that hour, you can park in front of the restaurant. So I went back to the car and read the early edition of the SF Chronicle.

In Melanie’s post she mentioned that the upper class and not so upper class are all treated equally at Tadich. This morning, one man was telling his friends that once Arnold Palmer gave up after waiting for two hours to get a table at Tadich. It makes me like Tadich more for that.

At opening, Tadich seats from the back. The first people sit WAY in the back.

STARTERS AND WINE

Tables are pre-set with Parisian brand sourdough bread. It has a nice chewy, crunchy crust. A bowl of neatly arranged lemon wedges, a covered silver sugar bowl and salt and pepper shakers share the table covered with a white tablecloth.

The waiter, dressed in white jacket, black pants and white apron, was professional and to the point. When he asked if I would like something to drink, I asked what white wine was available by the glass. He said “We have Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio”

I said “I don’t see the wines buy the glass on the menu. He said “We have Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio” Oh. It simplified things.

I liked the fact that he was French and called me madame … that’s the FRENCH pronunciation.

Melanie’s post made me smile because it really IS a bar that serves food. I have never seen so many people drinking classic cocktails. Lots of beer and wine ordered as well. Though the wines by the glass remain a mystery in their origin, the back of the menu has a large list of wines by the bottle with a few half bottles available for order. ALL wine was from California (good for you Tadich) and the Sparkling California wines are listed as they should be … under the title of ‘Champagne’.

THE CLAM CHOWDER

Looking around Chowhound for posts about cioppino, I came across one by Burke and Wells. Their description of Tadich’s clam chowder seemed so horrible to a New Englander (there was a mention of green bell peppers) that I was compelled to try it.

It is a nice potato thickened chowder with some pieces of green leeks. The small pieces of green pepper don’t get in the way of the chowder as I had to actively search for them … very small pieces and not many. I thought it could have used more clams. I’m more a fan of the cream/milk based chowder with some potatoes and lots of clams (points for bits of bacon). While I liked the chowder at Tadich’s I wouldn’t order it again.

I DO like the fact that they put Manhattan clam chowder (that horror), it its proper place by calling it Coney Island Chowder.

THE CIOPPINO / BEER – NO Anchor Steam

You don’t get a choice at Tadich’s. You get the lazy man’s cioppino with the crab removed from the shell. It is easier to eat the cioppino, but the crab loses its sweetness. As I said, the fish at Scoma’s was fresher and all local. It was heavier on the shellfish. While I have decided I like the broth based version of cioppino better, the saucy version at Scoma’s, which I was thinking was maybe too bland, let the super fresh fish star.

At Tadich there are lots of dried herbs and garlic in the tomato broth. I thought the black pepper overpowered the more delicate seafood. Tadich’s cioppino (for my visit) was more fish, rather than shellfish, based. There were four clams in shell, two SUPER sweet shrimp (the only fish better than Scoma’s), some tiny bay shrimp, two scallops, overcooked pieces of white fish and some moister pieces of tuna. All cioppino seems to have overcooked white fish. I did like the fact that as you worked through the cioppino and pieces of fish broke off, at the end each spoonful was filled with fish, baby shrimp and crab.

The reason I like the broth based version better is that without the decadently buttered pieces of toasted bread, it really is a diet dish. There is just fish and broth. No carbs at all. With the sauce version, you are really talking seafood pasta, sans pasta. I was literally full for a few days after eating the Scoma’s sauce based version.

I ordered an Anchor Steam beer. The waiter said “We only have Sierra Nevada”. “Really … no Anchor Steam?” I said. “We only have Sierra Nevada”, he repeated.

We did a few more rounds of that as I was truly surprised and thinking of that beer all week. I ordered the Sierra Nevada. Cioppino pairs best with white wine, for my taste. I wound up finishing the beer after the cioppino.

DESSERT

Has anyone ever had it here? I was way too full.

They list chilled baked Roman apple, Tadich rice custard pudding, Tiramisu cake, sour cream cheese cake, carrot cake, chocolate Sundae, ice cream, SHERBERT (no fancy sorbet / granite, here), bourbon bread pudding, and chocolate Gianduja mousse.

(Gianduja (zhan-DOO-yah) a creamy hazelnut-flavor chocolate from Switzerland ??? or a hazelnut chocolate from the Piedmont region of Italy named after a Turin folk figure called Gioan d'la Duja, "Giovanni of the Jug" ???).

THE FINALE

Tadich was one of the first restaurants I ate at when I moved to San Francisco many, many years ago. Not one thing has changed. You have to like that. I also like that you can get your fish charcoal broiled, pan-fried, sautéed, poached, deep fried or baked en casserole.

Next time I’ll take the suggestion for the mesquite broiled petrale with Tadich tartar sauce. Perhaps with a side of sautéed mushrooms or the rice with mushroom sauce … and a dessert … and COFFEE

SOME HISTORY FROM THE MENU

Tadich started by selling coffee from a tent-like structure during the gold rush. It was called The New World Coffee Stand. I guess SF has always been a coffee town long before Graffeo, Café Roma, Peet’s and Peet’s evil spawn, Starbucks.

The business was started by three Croatians and later bought by John Tadich who was also a Croatian immigrant. It was also called The New World Coffee Saloon (there’s an idea for you), and The Cold Day Restaurant. In 1912 it was named Tadich grill.

Not growing up in the area, I was surprised to read that it has only been in the current location since 1967. It has changed ownership many times over the years. But the one fascinating fact to me is that Tadich Grill has been under continuous operation and Croatian ownership since 1849.

I should have ordered the coffee. I wonder what brand they serve.

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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