There's a lot to love about the Tadich Grill, that venerable San Francisco institution. We've eaten there many times before, and there are some things some folks don't get about it that we appreciate. We're not crazy about the cost -- 1849 cuisine, and we're low on gold nuggets. But please indulge us as we share some of the finer points of the Tadich experience, which ultimately make an occasional visit well worth it.

Great Bar
Last Friday night, we got there before the rest of our party, put our name on the waiting list, snuck through a crack in the throng of people at the bar, and were rewarded with a stiff, cold, tasty (in other words, perfect) gin martini. Only $5, too. We only spilled a little bit on the guy that unintentionally elbowed us as we took it away from the bar and sidled up to the wall.

The rest of our party were in transit on the One California, so we knew we could probably knock back two of these suckers.

Great Staff
Don't you hate obnoxious customers? We observed this skinny, bespectaled guy getting all pissy that there were no seats at the bar for him while he was waiting. His female companion tried to calm him down, but was he's seriously throwing a tantrum, for no good reason. When you come to a popular restaurant, especially on a Friday, right after work hours in the Financial District, you need to understand that personal space and comfort may well be an issue throughout the whole evening. Deal with it.

We pegged this whiner as exactly the kind of fellow who would take his problems out on the staff -- lo and behold, he began complaining to one of the bartenders, who also serve as hosts, about the wait. Said bartender would not take his crap. "I need to see your whole party before I seat you, sir," he said, mostly respectfully. At this point, his party was scattered throughout the place. "They're here!" pissy guy insisted, flailing his skinny arms about. "I need to see them," says Tadich bartender.

Picture is the cover of "Tadich Grill," by John Briscoe, available from Ten Speed Press.