As you push into the front door at Tadich Grill, you are greeted by two things: a very polite hostess and white-aproned staff, and likely a crowded dining and bar area. Those in the know understand that Tadich Grill has a worthy reputation, and for good reason: its seafood is ultra fresh and beautiful prepared in numerous ways, from chowders to deep-fried fresh caught catfish to even a few mesquite-grilled meats for nonfish eaters.
But even those folks who do not readily warm up to fresh seafood will be hard-pressed to turn down any of the restaurant’s primo fare. For one, the chef’s lobster bisque amply fused with sherry is a winning bowl of spirit-warming fare. And if one’s best taste heads to smoked salmon, the deviled eggs with smoked salmon appetizer is a knock-out.
As for heartier, main-course fare, Tadich Grill’s kitchen turns out entrée salads—fresh a fish-free chopped salad to sliced tomatoes with crab or prawns or avocado with bay shrimp—and its world-famous Louie Salad in various iterations, with a choice of Dungeness crabmeat, Maine lobster, or even a seafood combo. Meat- and fish-based main plates include the famous San Fran cioppino, allegedly a seafood stew created by Portuguese fishermen; various seafood-based baked casseroles; assorted deep-fried fish plates; and for meat eaters, braised lamb shanks, and grilled calves’ liver with bacon.
Meanwhile, as you savor the food, your white-jacketed waitstaff politely come by with water refills, the cocktail list (yes, management has a variety) and its wine list. He will also enquire about whatever needs you have…and, when the meal is over, he is coming with the dessert list.
Not sure what to order??? The bread pudding with a gooey caramel sauce is outstanding. Not many choices show up on the selections, but the bread pudding and perhaps an after-meal aperitif is the best way to close out your very high-end San Fran to DC meal.
Why We Came: It’s hot news on the DC food scene, and for good reason. The food and service are outstanding.
Who's in Charge: The owners of the original San Francisco Tadich Grill, one of the oldest restaurants in the United States, also own this venture.
The Look: It’s all about old-fashioned, 1900’s elegance with white tablecloths and uniformed waiters, all underscoring the dark woods of tables and booths.
The Vibe: Welcoming staff seat you immediately—that is, if you have thought ahead and made a reservation. It’s that popular and crowded.
The Peeps: It’s a mix, for sure, but you can bet DC powerbrokers and ultra wealthy edge in here for good food and perhaps for good publicity.
What to Drink: The restaurant offers both a great wine and a great cocktail selection. All very high-end.
What's the Score: Tadich Grill is a must-go-to destination with a superlative seafood and meat selection to satisfy every DC foodie.
Chef Profile: Wil Going
A cheerful man who loves the culinary world, Wil Going, executive chef at DC’s high-end San Francisco import, Tadich Grill, is one very busy man. Getting a few moments with him recently, we learned that Virginia native Going may well have been destined for a seafood restaurant job. “I come from Hampton,” he said, “and my high school mascot was Freddy the Crab.”
But as a teen, cooking was definitely not foremost in his thoughts. By the time he entered college, however, his life shifted. As a music major, Going said he worked as a cook at a local restaurant for cash, and he finally realized he was spending more time in there than at his music studies. That’s when he decided to attend Johnson & Wales Univsersity to study the culinary arts, graduating with an AAS in Culinary Arts.
“My best experience there,” he said, “was being on the “hot foods’ team. We had to make four courses in four portions in 1 ½ hours. The judges were very critical…and it was like we were handed a ‘mystery basket’ of ingredients.” Going also had to make a chicken consommé as part of this contest. “You had 1 ½ hours to make it,” he said. “It must be so clear that you could read a nickel through it in the bottom of a coffee cup, so I practiced making it almost every day for awhile. We ended up going to the Nationals.”
Because he had always wanted to live in DC—“I fell in love with DC “I fell in love with DC while visiting for a week on a school trip in the 11th grade,,” he said, “and it was always in my head”—he moved to the city in 1999. His first job was with the Adams Morgan restaurant, Felix, which closed several years ago. There Going was tasked with producing the Shabbat dinner every Friday night. He then moved on to work the front of the house in two high-end restaurants, The Oval Room,701 Restaurant, and Legal Seafood. He later worked as the corporate chef and executive director of food and beverage at Chef Geoff’s and Lia’s, where he trained the staff on preparing recipes.
As fortune would have it, Going spotted an ad for the Tadich Grill position on Craig’s List. He sent in his resume, and got a response four months later. Invited by management to do several tastings, Going accepted. “I did 10 dishes here in DC and 12 dishes in San Francisco,” he said, making crab cakes, Chesapeake stew, and Portuguese stew among other dishes from his repertoire.
After he was hired and before the DC location opened, Going spent one month in fall 2014 and 3 montha in 2015 in San Francisco, running the kitchen there. “The restaurant is near Fisherman’s Wharf,” he said. “We got fish that was just caught.”
Now overseeing the DC restaurant, which is larger than its parent restaurant, Going says that his culinary emphasis is on freshness and quality control. “We are under much scrutiny,” he said, of a restaurant that teems with patrons at mealtimes. He describes his culinary style as basically American regional, and he promises some add-ons in the near future: a raw bar, and hopefully, a pastry chef to expand the dessert choices.