Tadich Grill was reviewed here back in 2015, but we visited many times after that and I didn’t write it up. But with the pandemic, it’s been at least 4 years since we were there. It was old school and consistent quality, meaning little changes, but downtown San Francisco has changed with a lot fewer people working in offices and a lower number of tourists. Tadich was ‘started’ by 3 Croatian immigrants in 1849 as a coffee stand that went through numerous moves when in 1871 another Croatian, John Tadich started working there. It became known as The Cold Day Restaurant through a political incident and Tadich took ownership in 1887. He joined with another restauranteur when both needed to recover from the 1906 earthquake, but when their partnership dissolved in 1912 and his partner named his new restaurant The Cold Day. Tadich then named his place Tadich Grill, The Original Cold Day Restaurant. It’s a fairly large place with wood tables and booths set with white clothes and napkins. A long bar with stools runs the length of the place with the kitchen being partially open in the back. Staff are friendly and dressed in long white aprons and white jackets. They have a large menu featuring much local and imported seafood with a few daily specials. The food is fine but nothing to write home about. You no longer seem to need a reservation at lunch, if that’s progress.
It’s a step back in time to dine there so we decided to try their martinis with lunch. It was a good choice but meant napping at the hotel afterward was in order. Tables are given bread service of wedges of sourdough bread and softened butter. The bread was fresh and very chewy with a distinctive sourdough flavor. Not crispy but very chewy and dense.
Pan-fried Sand Dabs are boned on request and that’s what we did. They come with Long Branch potatoes, vegetable of the day and tartar sauce. The tender little fish had more coating then I remembered and came with a lovely lemon/butter sauce. They were nicely filleted and tasty. The vegetable of the day was a medley of broccoli, cauliflower, carrot and squash all cooked very al dente. The potatoes had fun crisp ends and were filled with lots of potato flavor and fluffy texture. The tartar sauce is their own recipe and heavily seasoned with dill, yet it was light enough that it didn’t smother the flavor of the fish. It was a nice plate but nothing out of the ordinary except for being able to get Sand Dabs.
For dessert, we wanted to try the bread pudding but the server reported it was yet to be put in the oven so he suggested the rice pudding. It was indeed a Rice Custard Pudding topped with whipped cream. The rice sunk to the bottom of the custard and was almost a little undercooked. It was not an overly sweet dessert but it did have some fun textures, however I wouldn’t order it again.