I like seafood a lot (it drove me to create the OCEANAIRE SEAFOOD ROOM), and I’ve had the luck and the pleasure of dining at some of the best seafood places anywhere…and that includes little seaside un-named spots in Greece, Turkey, France and Asia…just can’t remember their names.
As far as fine dining goes…. you can’t beat LE BERNARDIN in New York. It’s perfectly run, with artful plating, intense flavor profiles and a beautiful dining room. Only been there twice. It’s pricey…not a rip-off…but REALLY EXPENSIVE.
Another place that I like is ESTIATARIO MILOS in New York, Vegas, Miami and elsewhere. It’s also REALLY EXPENSIVE (but Joanne and I have “cracked the code” and order off the $39 “SUNSET MENU”…which may refer to the time of day, or to our age….)
Although we haven’t been back to Rome for a while, our favorite seafood place there is LA ROSETTA, located just a short walk from the Pantheon. On our last trip there, a still-attractive Kathleen Turner was at the next table. (We’re going back to Italy this spring, so stay tuned. I’ll post about LA ROSETTA in June.)
Leaving the “fine and fancy” world, it’s important to mention some of the important “old school” seafood houses. One is JOE’S STONE CRAB in Miami Beach. I’ve posted plenty about that restaurant. Another is TADICH GRILL, a San Francisco icon that’s over 100 years old….. Zagat rated 4.5.
I’m writing about Tadich Grill partly because, as I sit here, it’s 7 degrees below zero outside my window, and I recalled that Tadich refers to itself as “THE ORIGINAL COLD DAY RESTAURANT.” It says so on their window.
And TADICH gives new meaning to the term CLASSIC. I would guess that the interior has changed hardly at all since they opened a century ago. It’s incredibly cozy, safe and comfortable – and the last time I was there the prices seemed at least a decade behind the times. The food is consistently good – very good indeed – and is served up by veteran waiters in starched white “cut and sewn” jackets. They’re a little like the crew at MANNY’S: most are lifers, each has an attitude, and they know how to take care of you.
Lots and lots of folks dine at the bar. That’s not all that unusual today, but Tadich has been doing it long before it became a trend.
There’s nothing terribly exotic on the menu (well, maybe abalone), but most everything else is a classic offering (They do a great Crab Louis) and is done up today just as it was in decades past.
I’m hard pressed to identify Tadich’s “SIGNATURE DISH” because so many seem like signature dishes, but if I were forced to name one, it would be the CIOPPINO (a dish I wrote about a few weeks back). It’s redolent with the freshest stuff off the boat…. and lots of it. Besides, CIOPPINO was created by San Francisco fishermen. It’ll run you about $36 (It would probably be $136 on the Estiatorio Milos menu).
But what about Tadich Grill’s Sand Dabs? And what about its Petrale Sole? Or the Lobster Thermidor?
Aren’t those classics, too?
But the menu isn’t boring. Try the Grilled Calamari Steak, the Lobster Pot Pie, or – if you over-indulged the night before – the Hangtown Fry (eggs and fried oysters, especially restorative with a Bloody Mary or two). And by all means, indulge in Tadich’s non-seafood offerings, like the Lamb Shank or the New York Strip. You won’t be disappointed.
By the way, we know about the Hangtown Fry because FIGLIO introduced so many Twin Citians to this dish back in the ‘80s.
This place works for kids as well. They’ll like the bibs and love the desserts. I steer youngsters to the Bread Pudding. My grandkids like the gooey-ness and I find that the bourbon it’s doused with really calms them down.
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Yes, a classic Phil and next time you all are out here we should dine there together…