Nico hit the scene in Mount Pleasant in November. The bright exterior lights are hard to miss while driving down Coleman avenue towards Shem Creek. French-trained chef Nico Romo is bringing something fresh to this area filled with casual destinations, as he delivers refined dishes in an upscale environment. Valet the car (for free) and start the night with a drink on the expansive outdoor patio.
The Menu of all Menus
Upon first glance, Nico’s menu can be a little daunting. Don’t fear, as the attentive waitstaff is happy to take diners through the numerous shareable options. Raw bar items can be ordered a la carte or on large platters featuring different varieties, like oysters, clams, and periwinkles. The other half of the menu is made up of dishes from the powerful wood-fired oven. Expect seafood-heavy plates — like mussels or whole Maine lobster — and French-prepared proteins. Le steak du boucher is served medium rare alongside a creamy au poivre sauce for those looking to stray from fish. Wait a few minutes before devouring, as the small plates, vegetables, and main dishes arrive piping hot on small caste iron skillets.
Quick Escape to Paris
Chef and owner Nico Romo imparts his classic French techniques on several dishes throughout the menu, most notably with his quenelle — flounder, eggs, and butter combine to form a texture somewhere between an omelet and a mousse. The dish is cooked in the wood-fired oven and topped with a rich, bisque-like crawfish sauce.
These Guys Know Oysters
Before opening, Romo and the Nico staff went on a road trip in his minivan to search for the best oysters. After visiting and experiencing oyster farms up and down the East Coast, they landed on twelve different varieties that are served with the adductor muscle on to preserve the freshness. In addition to raw service, don’t miss the wood-fired version which is topped with a layer of melted cheese.
Did we mention cheese? Camembert, a sweet French cheese perfect for melting, finds its way onto several of the wood fired dishes — it forms a crust on the aforementioned baked oysters and is served in fondue form alongside the pommes frites.
The bustling brasserie is full of life, and eye-popping plate/platter designs spot every table. The menu works well for groups looking to socialize, which can be seen throughout a large portion of the restaurant. Carefully selected beers, hand-crafted cocktails, and wines by the glass make Nico a fun place to enjoy a night out by the water with friends. Dinner is served from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.