Nico, a one Michelin starred restaurant in San Francisco, has been on my “to go” list for the past few years.
I finally decided to dine at the quaint restaurant after a coworker raved about it multiple times. Since they are moving to a new location in the Financial District soon, I knew I wanted to see their current beautiful space in Pacific Heights. What’s different about Nico is that they change their menu everyday which is exciting but also can be challenging to ensure that the dish is successful. They offer only a five course prix fixe menu ($70/person) with additional bites if wanted. We decided to order the additional snacks along with our tasting menu.
It’s hard to go wrong with great quality oysters. A simple mignonette only enhances the delicious clean brininess of the oysters.
The squash blossoms were just a tad oily but I loved the Atika (sheep’s milk cheese) cream that had a grassy nuttiness to it.
Definitely a fun way to start the tasting menu with warm madeleines but a savory version that almost had a slightly meaty oniony quality to it.
Luscious slices of raw scallop were coated in a gelée with crunchy pieces of apple and radish. The timut peppercorn reminded me of pink peppercorn that added an unique flavor to the dish.
The creamy Beaufort cheese cream on the bottom was the perfect accompaniment to the smoked onion and layers of lettuce with chervil and tarragon. A satisfying salad course.
The succulent moist snapper went beautifully with the tallow (rendered beef fat) sauce underneath. The sweet tartness of the huckleberries balanced out the richness from the sauce.
While the veal shoulder was cooked beautifully, I wasn’t crazy about the flavor combinations. I liked the kalamata olive topping but the blackberries weren’t as sweet and juicy as I would have liked.
Typically I’m not a rice pudding fan but this was bomb. Comforting rice pudding flavored with white chocolate and lemon verbena with lemon verbena powder and vibrant raspberries. So good.
I was hesitant about the Jimmy Nardello pepper sorbet but this was well executed. The sweet pepper sorbet harmonized with the white nectarine compote, as well as the almond crumble, and the freshness from the chocolate mint.
It’s only fitting that the meal ended with sweet madeleines and these didn’t disappoint.
It terms of the menu format and food style, Nico reminds me of Nightbird but at a significantly better value. The food was nicely presented utilizing beautifully sourced ingredients so my overall rating is a 7.5-8/10.