Mr.Joel

Nicaro, Georgia Ave in Silver Spring - Chef Luis Martinez Replaces Pedro Matamoros Under a New Management Team - Closed

48 posts in this topic

I could be wrong about which former Tabard Inn chef -- Pedro Matamoros? But I hear that the former Rodeo restaurant space, at 8229 Georgia Avenue, will soon be open as a new restaurant under one such luminary. No later than Friday, July 13, according to one source. Any info, anyone?

Thanks!

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I care. ;)

Heh, thanks Don.

The place is to be called Nicaro and will, I'm told, serve "American nouvelle cuisine". I found a phone number of (301) 588-2867, but it looks like only construction crew is on site right now.

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Heh, thanks Don.

The place is to be called Nicaro and will, I'm told, serve "American nouvelle cuisine". I found a phone number of (301) 588-2867, but it looks like only construction crew is on site right now.

Where is this spot?

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Where is this spot?

It's on the east side of Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring, between Silver Spring Ave. and Thayer Ave. It's next to the old Half Moon Bar-b-que (soon to be Olazzo, like the one in Bethesda.).

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It's on the east side of Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring, between Silver Spring Ave. and Thayer Ave. It's next to the old Half Moon Bar-b-que (soon to be Olazzo, like the one in Bethesda.).
Now I got it. Thanks, Jeff ;)

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Hey, anybody know why they got a stop work order at Nicaro?

I saw that the other day, as well. I wondered if the work got a little ahead of the permitting process.

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As of Friday night, October 26, Nicaro is open.

This is their website, currently a bit of an empty plate:

http://www.nicarorestaurant.com

We went on Saturday (last night), and here's a mini review. Menu scan attached.

Background: Pedro Matamoros, formerly of Tabard Inn, is both chef and owner. He brought in the maitre d' from David Craig in Bethesda (Andy?). Also, fans of Jackie's waiter Rich Potter will now find him here. They just passed their last inspection this week.

First impressions: the space is very nice. Indirect lighting, lots of glass in front, mirrors and candles. Artwork on the wall is unaggressive, serving as a background and not a focus. Apparently the pieces were done by a friend of the owners. Folks who remember the Rodeo will see a near-total transformation. A wall divides the low-key bar from the dining room; personally I'd rather be able to people-watch from one to the other, but there may have been architectural reasons as well as noise control.

A short wine list is, appropriately, labeled "Starting wine list". (Sorry, no scan). Piper Sonoma is the one sparkling wine at present.

We concentrated on appetizers, not being starving (and generally preferring apps anyway). I started with an oyster which was disappointing -- a little tough, lacking the explosive freshness of the best examples. Only $2 though.

The terrine was quite good, framed in lardons and with a delicately-flavored deviled egg and a coarse-chopped persimmon "jam" that was nicely tart. Lobster fritters were so lightly fried as to seem almost greaseless and the flesh was tender. The accompanying aioli could have used more garlic, or to have more dill incorporated into the mix as well as garnishing the top.

The pasta with lamb bolognese was excellent -- a creamy sauce with the richness of fine-ground lamb but no hint of gameyness. Just a half-a-handful of fresh thick noodles and a couple of pecornio shavings. This served as my entree, but wouldn't have been enough for that if we'd come in seriously hungry. The waiter recommended a chardonnay to accompany, which was fairly successful.

SH got the crab cake entree. The cake was substantial, crunchy, and full of lump meat, and the corn flan complemented it well. The tarragon tartar sauce could overwhelm the crab, which was not spiced much, so go easy.

Dessert offered four choices: creme brulee, cookies and ice cream, a chocolate bread pudding that the next table demolished down to the lickings, and the apple cobbler that SH got: a crunchy topping, and ice cream, over apples and peaches that were still crisp.

If I have an overall criticism, it's that the kitchen is being too cautious with the seasonings. I seldom pick up the salt and pepper at a good restaurant but found my gaze drifting that way once or twice. Then again, I'm a fan of the piquant and bored by bland, and the cooks can be forgiven for easing into their recipes.

For a restaurant that just opened the day before, it was quite a good performance. Nothing we ordered was conceived or executed with any glaring errors, only minor quibbles and those largely matters of taste. The staff was uniformly calm, professional, and knowledgeable. Everyone seemed glad to be there.

post-945-1193581667_thumb.jpg

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This is a nice new addition for Silver Spring! Lobster fritters were so light and flavorful! Crab cake was also delicious. Agree with the comment above on spicing.

Not sure if they will offer valet parking, but if you turn on Thayer Street there is a metered parking lot across from the Safeway.

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A friend and I checked out Nicaro for lunch on Thursday. Cute place, and trying hard.

Housemade Terrine. Fig. Quince. Mustard. Cornichon. Three selections: country pork, duck, and something else. They were pleasant, but served too cold, and underseasoned. I like my pate more aggressively spiced.

Duck Confit Spring Rolls. Plum Dipping Sauce.The had a nice crisp wrapper and good duck flavor, but the slices of fresh jalapeno in the filling are a nasty surprise. The dipping sauce was light, and very gingery.

Semolina Crusted Oyster. Tasso Potato Hash. Champagne Sauce. The oysters were very fresh and pleasantly crunchy, but the hash had nary a speck of tasso, and the champagne sauce was bland.

Maine Lobster Quesadilla. Tarragon. Crème Fraiche.Very flavorful lobster, mild cheese and buttery, flaky tortilla. Works better than it ought to.

We split the cookies and ice cream. The cinnamon ice cream was tasty but the cherry had issues - off flavor and icey texture.

They are a work in progress and I will definitely go back and give them another chance. We need more places like this in downtown Silver Spring.

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My wife and I stopped in for brunch yesterday morning. The staff was really wonderful and friendly; they were laid back and conversational, knowledgeable about what they were serving, and very attentive to the flow of the meal. We sat in the bar area, which is partitioned from the main dining area, and has a couple of large screen TVs that were both playing college football.

We had the Tasso Ham Benedict and the House-made Merguez Sausauge with poached eggs. The ham and sausage were both really excellent; both sets of eggs were lightly sauced, which helped the meat to shine through.

I had a bloody mary, which was served with pickled green beans It was well balanced and not-too-spicy. The bartender told us that he makes mean mojitos; he was excited enough about them, in fact, that he brought us out a small one gratis. The mojito was really good. They also serve their take on a Bellini, called a "Brillini", which was available in a couple of different flavors that have escaped my memory.

By the time we finished our eggs, we were having a good enough time that we decided to stay for dessert. They had an upside-down pear cake that we split; it was fresh and tasty.

All in all, we really loved the place. The service was head and shoulders above what we're used to, the food was really solid and interesting, and the restaurant itself was very comfortable. We're looking forward to heading back for dinner sometime soon.

The brunch dishes were $10 - $15, if I recall correctly. They open at 11:30 AM on Saturdays and 11:00 AM on Sundays. The menu is not terribly vegetarian friendly. Also, they have a full (2 page) wine list at this point, and it looks good.

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We went there on Friday night with some friends for dinner. The place was packed!! Good to see an independent restaurant doing so well. The cooking needs a little more tweaking, IMHO, but it's a good start.

I started with the terrine, which Heather pointed out as being served way too cold for you to really get a good feeling for how it tasted. But I'm a sucker for charcuterie and I enjoyed my opener. For a main course, I had the entree sized version of the lamb bolognaise with tagliatelle. For my taste, the lamb was too finely ground up and I didn't get the rich lamb flavour that I was looking for. It tasted simply like a slightly and ambiguously meaty cream sauce. It tasted OK - just wasn't what I was hoping for.

There's definitely room for improvement but we'll give this place a few more tries before passing final judgement.

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I went with some friend on Saturday night. It seemed busy when we got there, and was a little quiet by the end. All in all everyone was happy.

My friend had a very nice butternut squash soup that had nice spicing. I had a bib salad that I would not order again. It was a half a head of lettuce and a very bland dressing that had no flavor. We had some oysters, which were huge, and pretty good (only $2 each).

My friend had the NY Strip (?) steak that was very well cooked (I just recently went to Ray's, which would still be my go-to place if I want steak, but it was very good). I had the Crab cake, which I enjoyed. It was on a bed of succotash, which was a little summery, but the cream in the sauce made it heavy enough for fall) Another friend had the Rabbit special and was happy with it.

My only frustration is I would have ordered some entrees if they came with different sides, and I found others had great sides, but not the main that I would order. I guess I could have asked for my own combination, but I wanted to let the Chef decide, since it is his menu.

Of the desserts, I would recommend the Chocolate bread pudding-- it was very tasty.

We are happy to have a new independent restaurant, and the service was very attentive. It is a little pricier then my usual, but we are happy to have some more upscale places in the area. The salad was the only item that we didn't like.

The menu seems to change often, and is not exactly what is on their web site, FYI.

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Went Saturday, 12/8. It is LOUD! I think next time we will sit at the bar.

Butternut squash soup was excellent.

Tasmanian sea trout very good.

Prosciutto with pecorino, raisins and arucola -- unremarkable

Duck Breast cooked properly to order (medium rare), with barely-above-bland lentils.

Service very good

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Do they have a bar? I.e., could I go have a drink and some oysters, or would I be an annoyance to the staff?

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Yes, they have a bar.

I had lunch with a friend there today - carrot & coriander soup was a little thick but had nice flavor, and the duck spring rolls no longer have big pieces of jalapeno.

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Do they have a bar? I.e., could I go have a drink and some oysters, or would I be an annoyance to the staff?

They do indeed have a bar. The place is partitioned such that there is a bar area that has the bar, a few of the really tall two tops (where your feet can't touch the ground) and then some couches. Having not been there during bar time, I don't know how full up the area gets, but I'd imagine eating oysters at the bar would be a perfectly lovely thing to do.

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Had dinner Sunday night (at the bar) at Nicaro -- started with a charcuterie plate, followed by the moulard duck breast with chantrelles, brussels sprouts, and green lentils, and ended the night with the bread pudding. The service at the bar was really nice, and I'd definitely go back -- have heard great things about their lunch service. It's nice to have a place like this so close to home. I hope they do well. We've needed a place like this in the area for a long time.

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The service at the bar was really nice, and I'd definitely go back -- have heard great things about their lunch service.
I've been to lunch there three times now and really enjoyed myself. I hope business picks up for them - the last time I was in it was pretty slow.

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Dropped in on a whim this primary night and thoroughly enjoyed a special of sauteed walu fish from Hawaii. Very tasty and moist! They're doing things well.

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Had a dinner event at Nicaro a couple of Friday ago . They did a very nice job that night, and Pedro's putting out some tasty food in the kitchen.

Starters tried were the Cajun Shrimp [think a weekly special], Oysters, and Squash Blossoms. Main entrees of note that were well-received were the Grilled Waluu [tasty & moist, probably they're #1 dish], Roasted Halibut, Scallops, Lamb Bolognese, and Seafood Bouillabaisse. And for desserts, the overwhelming favorite was the Chocolate Bread Pudding! [different texture that I anticipated, but quite tasty].

Service was attentive but not overbearing. The primary server Sean [also works in the back, so he was very fluent on food/wine recommendations] got quite a few kudos.

We had a 8:30 p.m. start. There's still there noise/acoustics consideration. Talking with a few staff they're well aware of it and want to place nice-looking sound panels that won't impact decor, but they're waiting due to a big backlog from the vendor.

I've eaten there a few times now. Nice up & comer to the Silver Spring area!

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