I've always been a fan of the beers from Brooklyn Brewery, especially during my New York days - not only are they tasty but my inner marketing and PR nerd thinks their branding is pretty well done too. I joined Dinner Lab a few months ago but hadn't yet signed up for a dinner due to annoying real life scheduling commitments (like that little thing called “work”, which I do in order to pay “rent” – all so tedious.) For the uninitiated, Dinner Lab is a kind of private dining club where the organizers bring together up and coming chefs and a group of diners at unorthodox dining venues (ours took place in an industrial warehouse of some kind in Northeast DC.)
When I saw that Dinner Lab would be hosting their next dinner in DC in partnership with Brooklyn Brewery, I decided to give it a shot. Armed with copious amounts of wine, cocktails and beer (duh) that was available, my friend Tiffany (who kindly supplied some of the pictures below) and I jumped into the fray:
The verdict? A pretty hit or miss experience.
One of the perks of living in Washington D.C.'s U Street Corridor is the ability to check out new restaurants on the constantly buzzing (and ever expanding) 14th Street before word gets out and it becomes impossible to get a reservation.
(Incidentally, how are you all feeling about the latest uptick of reservation apps that charge you for hot tables? Not a fan, personally.)
One of the latest arrivals on the 14th Street dining scene is Tico DC. Chef and owner Michael Schlow has a long pedigree of helming fun and exciting restaurants, including a Tico in Boston and Cavatina, the super classy joint inside the Sunset Marquis in LA. George Rodrigues is running the kitchen at Tico DC, after a highly successful stint at the original Tico in Boston and working for Jose Garces in Chicago.
We'd seen the signage for Tico go up recently next to the new Trader Joe's on the same block and was eager to give it a try on opening night. They were only accepting walk-ins at that point but since then, reservations have been available online (which we utilized on a return visit, giving you an indication as to how I feel about this place, having now been twice in two weeks.)
First off, the space is really cool, with an open kitchen and massive art and graffiti-style pieces inspired by international street art and Latin-American culture.
Secondly, and most importantly, the food is absolutely delicious and packed with crazy flavor. Normally, I'm definitely in the camp of people who are getting tired of small plates restaurants but rest assured Tico DC does theirs with substantial portions.
Because it was a new restaurant (and because everything sounded great), we opted for the "Forgot to Eat Lunch" whole-table option, which basically like an "omakase" style selection from the chef. There's also a lighter version of this called "Kind of Hungry" and the big blow-out "Full Tico Experience." Graham and I were both totally stuffed after our meal so my recommendation is to be prepared (and maybe under order).
Highlights of the meal (hover over for captions):
All in all, we left incredibly satisfied, especially after a decadent Valrhona chocolate tart that was served during both our visits.
PS: They also serve a few drinks in porrons here, which means you can pour that delicious cava directly into your mouth:
Drinks: 4/5 (strong cocktails and a crazy expansive tequila and mezcal selection)
Ambiance: Unique urban design; buzzy crowd; lovely in the summer especially with the windows thrown open
Jasmine says: Overall, 4/5 chomps. Will definitely be back.
Tico DC is located at:
1926 14th St NW, Washington DC, 20009
Reservations available via OpenTable
Everyone always tells me that I should do something with my, uh, penchant for food (besides just eating it). So here goes nothing - I'm starting a blog that will help me chronicle my fine and not-so-fine dining adventures, as well as ways to incorporate fast and painless cooking into the life of a young professional.
One woman's journey to eat all the food. Or at least, most of it.