Tag Archives: back bay

Tico, Back Bay

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20120205-212918.jpgWhere: Tico – 222 Berkeley Street, Boston MA 02116
When: February, 2012

Saturday night I had plans to head down to Back Bay to hear a band that I wanted to check out for our company’s annual gala. I couldn’t see them until after 10pm so what’s a girl to do to kill a couple of hours? Fortunately, my colleague and one of her friends were up for a night out!

We started at Brasserie Jo for cocktails. I haven’t been there in years so it was really nice to see the space, it looks great as does the menu. I had a hard time catching the bartenders’ eye but once I did I got an espresso martini which was delicious. I couldn’t imagine getting anything but an espresso martini at Brasserie Jo for some reason, it just seemed to fit.

After a couple of drinks we headed to Tico for dinner. I had never been but it was on my list as one of my must go to restaurants for 2012. Tico was rated by Esquire as the best 2011 new restaurant in the US so I had high hopes.

We got there at 9 with a 9pm reservation and had to wait about 15 minutes to sit which was fine but the place was so crowded we weren’t able to get to the bar for a drink. While we waited I noticed the customer flair. There was the guy at the bar with dreads but then a table of girls who looked like they walked off the set of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. I think I may have been the only one in there not wearing colored stilettos (not that I don’t want to). Eclectic. I can dig it.

We were seated close to the bar which was really loud and it was a little difficult to talk over the music.

We decided to order three small plates each to share (descriptions below photo):

Spicy Shrimp, bacon and avocado – The flavors were good and the shrimp were cooked very well. I could have used another shrimp or filler in each taco, they were a little skimpy.

Crispy Pork Belly, onion & mustard – These were amazing. To quote Carol, “If you like fat, you’ll like these”. Yes, I like fat and I like these. I loved the mustard sauce as well, just tangy enough to cut the fattiness of the pork.

Tuna Tartare Tostadas with lime, cilantro and serranos – I loved this. The tuna was really fresh and the tostadas crispy and salty. I’d get this again any day.

Crispy Fried Manchego cheese with spicy pomegranate honey sauce – I’m a Manchego fanatic so was really excited about this dish but, sadly, quickly found out that fried Manchego pretty much tastes like fried mozzarella. If there was a notable difference I’d have to say that the Manchego was drier and, dare I say, blander? There was nothing special about this dish unfortunately.

Sweet Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Thai Basil – Loved this. It was pretty spicy with the chiles but the sweetness of the corn and saltiness of the bacon balanced it out well. A keeper.

Grilled Octopus with Tiny Potatoes, Aji Amarillo and Panca – I’m drawn to octopus anytime I see it on the menu so was pretty excited about this. The octopus was cooked well and very smoky tasting which was a little different. The rest of the salad was fine but not particularly memorable.

Chorizo Risotto with pasilla chiles, scallion and parmigiano – Great risotto, nice and creamy with just the right amount of bite to it. But where was the chorizo!? The pieces were so small It was easy to forget it even came with chorizo. Get some big chunks in there.

Crispy honey-cayenne chicken wings – The chicken wings were sticky, sweet, spicy, succulent, and messy – just as wings should be.

Lobster Croquet with Aji Amarillo Sauce – I think I have mentioned this before but I’ll say it again – I love croquettes. They are fried and crispy and all soft and gooey in the center. This, essentially, was all that but sadly was not memorable in a good way. All I could really taste was what tasted like velveeta cheese. I couldn’t have been velveeta (is that stuff even still legal?) and I have no idea way it was but it was not tasty. Very disappointing.

Overall, the things I did love – the pork belly, tuna tartare, sweet corn, and risotto – were all amazingly delicious and I’d love to have them again but I’m not sure I’ll be making a trip back. It was really loud and half the dishes we got were just “ok”, if that. I’d like to know what the guys from Esquire got!

How did Tico measure up? 2.5 Spoons!

Tico on Urbanspoon

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The Salty Pig, Back Bay

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Where: The Salty Pig – 130 Dartmouth Street Boston MA 02116
When: December, 2011

Kudos to twitter as that was how I first heard about this restaurant a couple of weeks ago. Since then I saw that a friend on Facebook went there with her husband as did my officemate (or my roomie as I have been known to call her). When I asked Dan where he wanted to go for his birthday he told me to pick a place that was meaty. With pig being right in the name, and my favorite animal to eat, this was my first suggestion and he took it.

I had stalked the menu before going and knew I absolutely had to get the saucisson sec. My family on my mother’s side, who all live in Paris, own a meat distribution company that provides meat to local restaurants, saucisson sec being one of them. This means all my aunts, uncles, cousins, ect have a bounty of saucisson sec in their kitchens for me to nosh on when I am visiting. These two words strung together alone remind me of long leisurely summer lunches in my grandparents’ garden, family vacations in Spain, and barbeques at my cousins’.

For those new to “saucisson sec”, it is (thank you, Wiki): “a variety of thick, dry cured sausage that originates in France. Typically made of pork, or a mixture of pork and other meats, saucisson are a type of charcuterie similar to salami or summer sausage”. Its delicious.

We started off with a bottle of Domaine la Guintrandy Cotes du Rhone (where is that little house above the o key?!) which went really well with all the meat and cheese we were able to partake in. To start we got the Saucisson Sec, as mentioned above, and asked for a recommendation for a cheese similar to Manchego that would go well with honey as that’s my latest obsession. Nick, our server, suggested the Mil Ovejas which is a firm sheeps milk cheese. Good choice, Nick. It was excellent.

While we nibbled we looked through the entrees and wondered what kind of meat the Salty Pig pizza might have on it as it just noted “Today’s Salty Pig Parts”. After a few minutes of grossing each other out suggesting the most disgusting pig parts we decided to ask Nick. Today’s pig parts were: Prosciutto Galloni (Traditional 1 Year Aged Ham), Coppa Piccante (Spicy Dry Cured Pork Shoulder), and Hot Soppressata (Old World Style Dry Cured Sausage). You had me at Prosciutto.

The pig parts came on a really thin crispy pizza crust with Parmigiano oil and a pale ale vinaigrette. I was thrilled about the crust as it snapped really easily between my falsy tooth (no chewy crusts for me for a while). The pizza was definitely salty, not for those who don’t like salt. It had some sort of seasoning salt on it which with the salty pig was crazy salty. Personally I love salty foods and the red wine cut through it very nicely so I had no complaints but I can see why there were a couple Yelp reviews saying it was a little much. Don’t forget your wine or something to cut through it, people.

The check is presented in a book where you can leave a note to draw a little something so when Dan exclaimed “we are going to draw you like a pig” to Nick we just had to. Not my best work really and apparently the wing ruined it but its all I’ve got. Hope Nick wasn’t offended by it.

How did The Salty Pig measure up? 4.25 Spoons!

Salty Pig on Urbanspoon