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Tico, A Boston Chain with Chef George Rodrigues - Pan-Latino Fusion on 14th and U Street in 14UP

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I'm surprised that there's still no thread on Tico so I'm starting one.

I've been there a bunch of times, and it's one of my favorites.  Each time I've ordered a fried dish, I've been impressed by how well it's fried.  The dishes have been crispy and not greasy (fried calamari, fried manchego, fried oysters).  I've also really liked their mac & cheese with ham, duck tacos, salmon ceviche with almonds, and chorizo risotto.  The few dishes that I did not care for were their fried chicken taco and black risotto croquettes - both tasted bland to me.

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I'm surprised that there's still no thread on Tico so I'm starting one.


I'm surprised I'm only the second poster.

First time eating here, tonight, and it was quite good.

We stuck with vegetables for the most part, so can't speak to the entire menu.  But what we ate was quite good.  Crunchy edamame tacos and a cabbage salad were the best - even though you wouldn't think so from those short phrases, I swear they were delicious, with more variety of flavor and texture than the short phrases convey.  Shishito peppers are near-trite if not fully trite by now, but these were very good with crispy shallots and lime zest.

The decor is creative and the atmosphere is lively (and loud).

My only qualm was one that is so common with small-plates places: we ordered everything at the outset, and were then on a fast pace and done in not much time.  But I will happily go back.

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Table for two at Tico at 8 PM on Saturday 10/31/15. Wait-staff and half the patrons dressed in Halloween garb which was fun.


Part of the reason I picked Tico as a surprise birthday dinner location was my fiancee's love of margaritas. We let the waitress know and she recommended the Hibiscus Margarita ($11), which is "on draft." I tasted it and while it was not lacking on the tequila, the only thing to me that indicated that it was not a traditional margarita was the red color - no hibiscus flavor was evident.

I ordered the Caju Caipirinha ($11), which is a Caipirinha with Cashew.  Similar to the Hibiscus Margraita, I found the caipirinha solid, but any cashew was faint.  I also ordered a Mahou ($6 on draft), a Spanish lager, which was refreshing but unspectacular.


We ordered three small plates and two orders of tacos (two tacos per order) to share between the two of us.

  • Crispy Manchego Cheese with spicy pomegranate honey sauce ($9) - I love Manchego and I love cheese sticks so I had high hopes. Unfortunately the entire plate was devoid of flavor - breading was light, at least, but the liquified cheese lacked any distinct manchego flavor and the spicy pomegranate honey sauce had exactly zero of those flavors - a real disappointment.
  • Fried Oysters with Old Bay romesco ($11) - The oysters were nicely fried, although the breading was a bit too heavy for me. The romesco tasted like romesco, but I couldn't get any of the Old Bay.
  • Roasted Cauliflower with chipotle, crunchy favas and and cotija cheese ($9) - Best of the three small plates.  The cauliflower was roasted perfectly and the crunchy fava added a nice texture.
  • Crispy Fish tacos with red jalapeno, cabbage and chipotle ($11) - Very nice, although not as good as you'd find in California (they never are). The fish was fried perfectly and the fresh red jalapeno added some bite. The chipotle sauce was probably the same one that was on the Roasted cauliflower.
  • Duck tacos with charred serranos, mango salsa and duck cracklings ($12) - the duck appeared to be braised and shredded and had that nice fatty duck flavor, and the mango salsa added a cool contrast to the hot duck.  The cracklings were minimal and until I went back and looked at the menu, I didn't realized there were charred peppers on there.

We had an appetizer at Zaytinya to kill time between church and the reservation so after that and all of this food we were too full for dessert.

Service and Atmosphere

Excellent. The hostess was welcoming and chatty on the way to the table and our server was prompt, courteous and unobtrusive. And, as mentioned above, all were dressed in costume which some put significant effort into.  Items came quickly (as mentioned in another review above) but the table was never crowded.  The restaurant was about 80% full and it was loud, but we didn't have to shout to hear each other.

Overall, I have to say I was disappointed given that Tico is on the current Eater 38 list and has gotten some decent praise elsewhere. Although the service was great and it was a lively atmosphere, the muted flavors in both the drinks and food left me underwhelmed.  Lots of other places to try before I would head back here.

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i agree that the hibiscus margarita, is a pretty standard margarita, except maybe lacking the strong citrus flavor most margs have. The only thing i've had here was the cabbage slaw tossed with some sort of avocado/tomatillo dressing, and it was great. 

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