Nico Finds A Delicious New Identity In Jackson Square


Photo Credit: Ghost Media

In 2013, chef Nicolas Delaroque and his wife Andrea opened Nico, an upscale French brasserie in Laurel Heights. Four years later the couple closed the bistro’s doors and moved Nico to a new location in Jackson Square. Nico 2.0 debuted last summer, and the Delaroques have been serving superb Parisian-inspired fare to a devoted following ever since. “The new neighborhood has been very welcoming. It’s fun to see new faces enjoy their experience,” chef Delaroque told Haute Living. “We are also fortunate to have a good number of regular guests from the old location who we get to see more often because they either work downtown or live nearby. So far, it’s been all positive!”

Chef Nicolas Delaroque

Photo Credit: Ghost Media

Delaroque is being modest—Nico was awarded a Michelin star last fall. “It’s incredibly rewarding. I love cooking, and I would do it no matter what,” Delaroque says. “I love seeing a dining room full of people who leave happy. But, earning a star is a true testament to the team and our willingness and ability to be consistent and shine together. For me, being French, Michelin has a special significance too.”

Brown butter madeleines

Photo Credit: Ghost Media

The new Nico is smaller than the old space, but it’s a jewel box of a restaurant. The dining room extends into the open kitchen giving guests an insider’s look at the busy chef’s life. It’s elegant and refined, but cozy and inviting. Delaroque excels in everything he does, from serving foie gras in exciting new ways to perfectly poaching striped bass to making delicious brown butter madeleines. He’s one of the city’s most well-rounded chefs.

Duck pithivier

Photo Credit: Ghost Media

Moving to Jackson Square allowed the Delaroques to add lunch service. They also recently switched from a set prix fix to an a la carte menu. While Delaroque enjoys the daily set menu of a classic French bistro, he acknowledges that this style of dining isn’t as appreciated by Americans. “Now that we’ve been in our new space for a little while, we think the neighborhood would enjoy the format more than our prix fixe style,” he explains.

A seasonal cocktail

Photo Credit: Ghost Media

“It gives people more flexibility. While I love going to a restaurant and eating what they serve me without having to make any decisions, I think people are more willing to try a new spot when they can dine a la carte.” The option for a chef’s choice will remain, but Delaroque is looking forward to experimenting with interesting ingredients he couldn’t use before. “Now, if I have something like Périgord truffles or abalone or some other exciting ingredient, I can put it on the menu and not worry about exceeding my food cost for a set menu price. We can have some fun with different menu items.”

A scallop course

Photo Credit: Ghost Media

Another area the Delaroques hope to expand in the new year? Dessert. “I’ve always had a sweet tooth. Andrea and I have been thinking about launching a project that incorporates some of our favorite sweet things. We want to call it Fat Baby Francais, and it will be a sweet endeavor including madeleines, French flan, and ice cream.  We are pretty excited about it!”