Why did we dine here? – Nico calls themselves a Modern Bistro. They are located in the swanky Pacific Heights neighborhood in San Francisco. We’ve been to a Nico in Carmel, and wonder if there is any connection?!
Nico is short for chef Nicolas Delaroque. He is from Paris and has worked at Luce and Manresa. Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed it last month and made it sound like a must visit. Lemmings we are all..
Insider Tip – Make reservations, the place is tiny. Quantities are on the small side, so you need to order appetizer, starter, entree and dessert.
Cuisine – New American
Location – Pacific Heights, San Francisco
Opened – 2013
Service – Nico had reasonable service. The waitress could recite the ingredients in each dish but couldn’t really recommend any signature dishes or popular ones. As the evening went on, they clearly are trying to provide very good service with lots of runners passing by. Pacing was on the slow side. There was a large pause between starters and entrees.
Verdict – Nico serves up interesting modern New American cuisine. This isn’t for everybody. Portion sizes are very low and dishes seem to focus a lot on asthetics rather than brute force. This restaurant did not live up to our expectations. If they had a little more focus, they could be even better. It reminds us of OuterLands. If you want to give it a try, a safe bet is for a glass of wine from their extensive collection and appetizers.
Nico is closed on Mondays.
Nico Signature Dishes – Menu changes all the time.
Nico’s Menu changes daily and is very short and to the point. 4 starters, 3 bites, 5 mains, cheese, and 3 desserts. One vegetarian main.
Nico Food Picks:
House made soda ($6) was a refreshing citrusey beverage. Cool metal straw.
Beignet, gruyere ($9) had a rough texture and reminded us of the ones that are served at French Laundry. These are very good but not in the same realm.
Liver Pate, radish, croutons ($8) was a beautiful dish. The Pate was pretty large and flavorful. You definitely had to use bread to supplement the miniscule croutons.
Cauliflower soup, brown butter, almond ($11) was creamy and possessed a very well done flavor profile. A perfect starter on a cold night.
Herring, potato, fennel, safron ($13) attracted us from its picture in Bauer’s review. While not as beautiful as his, the pickled fish hit the mark.
Dungeness crab, grapefruit, avocado, wood sorrel ($14) was another artfully plated starter. As we took a fork full of crab, foam, and the other ingredients, we found that it melted together well. Quantities were fairly low with this starter.
Black cod, leek, yuzu, parsnip ($24) included 3 small pieces of cod with a beautiful, shiny crust. Again the focus was on beauty, although the fish was done fine.
Lamb, carrot, green garlic, yellow foot ($25) was another interesting looking dish. The lamb was fairly gamey and cooked to a medium rare. Portion size was on the small side again.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Pork Belly, brussel sprouts, parsely, hedgehog ($23) was more of fat than any pork belly. We’ve ordered a lot of these pork belly dishes and have never seen it so fat.
Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?