Tico (Under Construction) [Photos: Missy Frederick/Eater.com]
In some ways, the upcoming Tico Restaurant will feel like a Schlow family art gallery. Boston restaurateur Michael Schlow's wife, Adrienne, an artist, designed the interior, and one of the chef's own photographs will hang on the wall.
They worked to give the new space more of a distressed look, and Adrienne Schlow inserted little fun quirks into the restaurant's graffiti-like design, such as the name of their daughter and dates significant to the couple. The walls have random graphical elements such as imagery of John F. Kennedy. Each table looks different from the next, and the 5,000 square foot restaurant has a ceviche bar and a generally open feel, with an intentional lack of doors. "I want people to feel, 'You're in my house,'" said Michael Schlow during a tour of the construction. He also wants them to be able to hear each other speak — sound-proofing is a big element of the restaurant's design.
Schlow, who has rented an apartment here to be close to the new restaurant, has a longtime association with D.C. — though born in New York, his father was from D.C. and he remembers the place as a town of food adventures — his first taste of sushi, an early memory of Ethiopian food. Though meant to be an American restaurant, Tico will reflect the chef's travels to such places as Mexico and Spain. "I want it to be the kind of place someone could go every single day," he says, whether they're ordering tacos, a piece of fish or even a hamburger.
Schlow's tacos go the less-than-traditional route — at a recent Industry Night event at Graffiato, he debuted a fried chicken taco with jalapeno slaw and buttermilk dressing. It will likely appear on the menu. He plans to push the envelope a little, ingredients-wise, compared to the Boston incarnation of Tico. He's thinking of offering a number of family-style, larger dishes, whether it be a roasted lobster or a Spanish spin on porchetta, that can be shared among larger groups. He'll also have an option where the chef can "just feed you" at a variety of different price points.
There will be plenty of tequila at Tico, including a tequila club where the goal is to try 88 varieties in an eight month span. The wine list emphasizes varietals from South America, Spain and the U.S. DC Brau is collaborating with the restaurant on a tequila-aged beer. Tico plans to open sometime next month.
· All Previous Tico Coverage [-EDC-]