Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nico

After many attempts, I finally got a friend to take me to Nico in the Loop for yet another birthday dinner. I still have yet to visit Franco so I thought that Nico would be a lot more accessible, both in location and atmosphere. I have passed the space numerous times while in the Loop and had even heard some live music there one night, but I was most curious about their menu.

Unfortunately, the menu looks a lot more interesting than it tasted and I was a little disappointed. I did appreciate the diversity of the menu, but I probably should have realized something was up when I walked into an almost empty restaurant. With so few tables, there wasn’t much staff available, and we had to wait quite often to get the server’s attention. We were also seated near the window although I feel as though the whole place was drafty.

My friend Amy and I had a hard time picking out an appetizer with such a large selection and we finally agreed on just the Stuffed Eggplant so as to save room for dinner. The eggplant was fried in breading, so it didn’t have much flavor, but we both enjoyed the mozzarella oozing out from the middle.

I think we both probably could have made dinner just from the starters to make it more tapas-style, but we both found a main course we wanted to try. Of course I wanted the most expensive dish, the Bouillabaisse, which includes many types of seafood mixed together, but I settled on the Hake, which I brutally mispronounced. (Sounds like “rake”.)

Unfortunately, the seared whitefish was tough and chewy, which probably means it was overcooked. My saffron rice cake was very bland so I made sure to finish the vegetable terrine, which had many flavors stacked together.

My friend’s lamb burger was tastier than my dinner, although I also would have preferred it to be cooked a little more rare to allow it to be juicier.

I am hoping that Franco will be a closer to my expectations.

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