So many appealing small plates, so little time! A chilly Tuesday night dinner with friends was enough to warm me up and to guarantee I will be back to Tico very soon.
Tico is the new venture of Chef Michael Schlow and as luck would have it, a restaurant that is directly across the street from my former office, a place I spent 2.5 years. As luck would also have it, a wine and cheese store opened IN the building I used to work in after I quit, but I digress.
Over a few tweets about the opening of Tico, Daisy, Justin, Megan, Michelle, Tania and I talked about a group dinner that finally came to fruition on Tuesday night. Tuesday also happened to be National Margarita Day, so we started off with a round of margaritas. Tico unfortunately does not have a drinks menu set up yet, but they make several different types of margaritas like the blood orange margarita below. It was delish.
Once we had all arrived, we were seated at a nicely sized table, perfect for sharing small plates. Tico definitely gets two thumbs up for space. Though it is a large restaurant, tables are not close together, and I didn’t really notice anyone else while we were dining.
After browsing the menu, we finally decided on tacos and small plates to share. And then the food started coming.
Crispy Fried Manchego cheese with spicy pomegranate honey sauce – This was one of my favorites. Tender bites of fried cheese with a sweet, syrupy sauce made for that perfect salty/sweet contrast.
Brussels sprouts with bacon, kumquats, mint and jalapenos- I also loved these. I don’t remember seeing any kumquats, but the Brussels were cooked to perfection, and really bacon and Brussels sprouts are always right.
Shrimp toast with avocado, pickled jalapenos and lime – This was my least favorite dish of the evening. In theory, it sounded like something I would love, but it was not very hot and the toast was kind of oil-soaked. I would pass on these next time.
Crispy fried chicken with fennel slaw & spicy buttermilk dressing- Of all of the tacos we tried, I expected to like these the least but loved them, especially the spicy buttermilk dressing. It had a kick! And I love crunchy fennel. This was a great combination of flavors. One thing to note about all of the tacos was that I was not crazy about the tortillas. They were cold and a little too thick. Other than that, Tico tacos rock.
Creamy Gigante Beans with chorizo and green onion- Another surprising favorite, the gigante beans were SO flavorful and tender with nicely spiced chorizo.
Crispy Sweetbreads with masa harissa, endive, blood orange and hazelnuts- I passed these up but am sad I didn’t try the harissa as it is one of my favorite sauces.
Crispy Fish, pickled onions & red jalapeno- These were another hit. For East Coast fish tacos, they were quite good.
Octopus with yellow peppers, citrus, and Aleppo pepper- I also loved this (seeing a trend?). The octopus was tender and flavorful, the citrus really giving it a nice punch and likely responsible for how tender the octopus meat was.
Snap Peas with orange zest, Tabasco butter and “crunchies” – More citrus, more yum. These snap peas were nice and crunchy with a little kick.
Spicy Shrimp, bacon and avocado – The avocado and bacon made these, in my opinion. The shrimp were good, but the other components definitely made them a repeat order.
“Creamed” Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Thai Basil- Though not very creamy, this was another great dish. I love corn, I have come to love bacon, and this was actually nice and light.
And then came dessert!
I actually chose a warm car ride home over staying to eat dessert, so I snapped a couple of quick photos, grabbed a bite of the bright, tart, creamy lemon sabayon, and left my dining companions to devour the desserts, which looked beautiful (and left me wanting dessert for the rest of the night!).
I had such a fun time with bloggers who have become friends, and Tico definitely impressed me. There are quite a number of dishes on the menu that I need to try, the price was right ($40/per person for all that food + a drink!) so a return visit with the husband is in order very soon. Now if they could just get that drink menu up on their website so I can obsessively plan each part of my meal. . .
Come on, I can’t be alone on this! When you are going out to dinner, do you look at the menu beforehand (multiple times like I do!)?