TICO restaurant opens at 14th and U Street, NW – Have a Look Inside

1926 14th Street, NW looking south toward T Street and Trader Joe’s

From a press release:

“James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schlow announces the June 8 opening of TICO restaurant in the Louis Development at 1926 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC. TICO, an affectionate name for a ‘local’ person in Costa Rica, is an American restaurant influenced by Schlow’s travels to Spain, Mexico and Latin America. The 45-item menu encourages guests to share and showcases creative ceviches, interesting tacos, seasonal small plates, a la plancha items, and entrées.

Elkus Manfredi Architects and StreetSense collaborated with Schlow to design a rustic space that reflects the casual yet imaginative spirit of TICO. Schlow’s wife, artist Adrienne Schlow, distressed the restaurant’s columns and brick walls, and some of her mixed media art and paintings can be found throughout the space as well. Michael, who also enjoys photography in his free time, contributed to the design with a few framed pieces from his travels to Spain. The 150-seat restaurant also features a 15-seat bar, as well as a ceviche bar with an additional seven seats, overlooking the open kitchen, allowing guests to be part of the action and see the workings of the culinary team.

A thoughtfully selected beverage menu, overseen by director of operations Steve Uhr, features an extensive list of more than 125 tequilas and mezcals, local and Latin beers, including an Añejo barrel aged DC Brau beer, and a cocktail list with a focus on small batch spirits. Guests who drink 88 different tequilas within eight months will be granted membership to Tico’s exclusive Tequila Club, which comes with invitations to special tastings, dinners, and other gifts. Riffs on classic cocktails will include the P90X, a Spanish take on a Manhattan and the wine list will feature varietals exclusively from North America, South America and Spain.

Schlow, considered to be one of the leading culinary professionals in the United States, opened the first TICO, named one of Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants in America” in Boston in 2011. He has tapped TICO Boston’s executive chef, George Rodrigues, to helm the kitchen in DC. Together, they will highlight seasonal ingredients and offer many dishes with a local slant such as Fried Chesapeake Oysters with Old Bay Spiked Romesco and a Blue Crab Taco with Bacon, Lettuce Pico, Tomato and Saffron, which will appear alongside signature dishes such as Crispy Manchego Cheese with Spicy Pomegranate-Honey Sauce and House-made Morcilla with Piquillo Peppers, Pickled Onions, and Mustard Vinaigrette.

Guests can opt to leave their dinner selections to the chef, based on appetite and budget. The aptly named “Can’t Decide” menu entails a multi-course chef’s choice meal – ranging from “Kind of Hungry” at $35/person, “Forgot Lunch” at $55/person, to the “Full on TICO Experience” at $85/person.

TICO will initially open daily for dinner Sunday through Thursday 4:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday will be from 4:00 p.m. until 2 a.m. Weekend brunch and happy hour will be added soon thereafter. On the opening night of Sunday, June 8, only walk-ins will be accepted. TICO will take limited reservations for the opening week via phone, and will begin accepting reservations through OpenTable in the coming weeks.”


Lots more photos after the jump.









38 Comment

  • I’m excited about the restaurant but confused why he would name it “Tico” (Costa Rican slang for a…Costa Rican) when it claims no Costa Rican influence – indeed no South American influence. Would you name a restaurant Aussie and serve French food?

    • …well in pop’s description he says they will serve ceviche and thats from peru and has been adopted by many other latin american countries.

    • “…an American restaurant influenced by Schlow’s travels to Spain, Mexico and Latin America.”

      Last I checked Costa Rica was in Latin America. Central America to be exact, not South.

      • stupid reading

      • Mexico would count as part of Latin America, I’d think. I guess this should’ve been something like “Spain, Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries.”

        • Not if Brazil is one of them.

          • Correct, but I didn’t see any mention of Brazil in the press release.
            Other possible fixes: “influenced by Schlow’s travels to Spain and to Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America.” Or listing the countries. Or listing “Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica*, and South America.”
            * If Costa Rica was indeed one of the countries he visited, and not just the inspiration for the name.

    • First, Costa Rica is not South America but Central America. Also, Costa Rica has NOTHING to do with Mexico (only that we are latin and speak spanish as well, as many of you pointed out already)…. it sounds as if the place would be better called ‘Charro’ (name for the Mexican hat) or ‘Malinche’ or even ‘El Chiringuito’ (Spanish name (from Spain) for a small dinner) something to do with Mexican/Spanish culture and not Costarican culture. This is a bit misleading and I totally agree with Anonymous comment even though he is mistaken and Costa Rica is in Central America… still… Would you name a restaurant Aussie and serve French food?

      Nothing on the article or on the pictures of the restaurant reminds me of my home country and as a Chef Tica… I am a bit annoyed by this misuse of the term! Oh well, guess that whenever you want, you are all welcome to come to Costa Rica and taste real tico food.

      Bummer that this is a common practice in the states… get your facts straight!

  • Wow! It’s like fine dining meets freeway underpass except with more nudity. Really hope they crank up the 90BPM Eurodisco so I have to scream at my ceviche. Gotta keep the olds away.

  • justinbc

    This place looks interesting for sure. I ate at 2 of his restaurants in Boston though and found both quite disappointing based on his hype up there. They were both “good”, but in a price range where you would expect great.

  • Nothing against Costa Rica or Ticos, but their food ain’t so great. Except for gallo pinto! And yes, they do serve ceviche in Costa Rica, often out of hand drawn carts.

    • We have amazing food… tough luck you did not taste it, you need to look for it and stay out of commercial places… next time you come you might want to do some investigation, you will find amazing cuisine here!

  • diploj

    Remind me not to eat anywhere that I have to spend $35 (plus drinks, tip, tax) when I’m feeling “kind of hungry.”

  • What time will they serve food until? Being open until 2am.. does that mean they will have a full service menu available until 2am (or 1:30)?

  • You guys, I went last night, and it was PHENOMENAL. Just, delicious, delicious food. We did the middle chef’s choice option; it was a tremendous deal, I think. And we had leftovers (which is saying something; I eat A LOT). Everything was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend.

    (Though of course I hesitate to write this because soon it will blow up like everywhere else on 14th)

    • jim_ed

      Thanks, Millenial Q. Marketing Intern. Your review sounds TOTES legit!

    • justinbc

      I appreciate the affirmation, but maybe provide some detail if you want to avoid others accusing you of being a shill. (Just a suggestion.) Telling me that “all the food is just delicious” is really virtually meaningless if I have no idea what you ordered/received, or what your idea of delicious even is. Either way, with such a glowing rave you’ll probably still be discounted by many, but at least it’ll be a little more informative.

      • This is either a shill or a 23yo who likely lacks sufficient fine dining experience to meaningfully expand on their thoughts. Or likely both.

  • ANOTHER small plate restaurant on 14th Street. Lovely….just lovely!

  • A ceiling that only a New Jersey Real Housewife could love.

    • I saw your comment before seeing the picture and was expecting decor a la the Cheesecake Factory. I really don’t think this is so bad. The wall art is pretty cool.

  • Another small plates restaurant on 14th street that wants to be a lounge at night. Pass.

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