Breakfast Nook Serves Lunch
Tico’s offers modest elegance in Marina.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Shopping center storefront restaurants occasionally yield a lot of surprises. Take Silvia Herrera’s newly opened Tico’s in Marina’s Town Plaza. Cooks wearing double-breasted white chefs’ jackets immediately signaled to me that food preparation and presentation were serious business here. The real roses on the faux marble-top tables further confirmed my opinion that the staff paid attention to details.
The intimate dining room holds eight tables with two tables out on the terrace. The windows gleam and starched white curtains give the dining room a cheerful ambience.
I took my daughter, Florence, with me on my first of several visits to Tico’s. Even though the specials board had seven items on it, I ordered huevos rancheros ($6.95) from the regular menu. Florence ordered a bowl of chicken-mushroom soup ($4.25) on special.
When the waiter brought the huevos rancheros out, I heard one of my fellow diners ask about it. The sculpture of a meal looked like a savory strawberry shortcake. Two soft corn tortillas at the base of the dish resembled flower petals. A mound of stewed—not refried—black beans with melted cheddar cheese held up two over-easy eggs. A helping of guacamole sat on the eggs that had been covered with salsa. Thin strips of roasted sweet red pepper and green pepper crisscrossed over the guacamole. The pungent cilantro in the guacamole, the smoky flavor of the beans, and the corn tortillas blended to make this a breakfast item ranking right up there with the feta cheese omelets from Chicago’s Greek diners.
Florence said her soup lacked kick. She has inherited her mother’s love of spicy foods. I told her that not everything has to sizzle. I liked how the soup arrived piping hot at the table so I could share the aroma. I also liked the taste of the meaty mushrooms, but overall it did taste a little salty.
I returned on a date with my husband Laurent for lunch. I started with a cup of sweet red pepper and tomato soup ($2.25). The red peppers had been roasted before they were pureed with the tomato, giving the soup a rich flavor. Tico’s soups change on a daily basis, and I would recommend keeping your eye out for this one. I like to leave peeling roasted peppers to the experts.
Laurent ordered a daily special of fried sand dabs with eggs ($7.95). His order came with three flavorful fillets of fish, two over easy eggs, and a generous helping of dark brown and crunchy country fries.
The tender sand dabs made a surprisingly good combination with the eggs. Laurent, who grew up on lightly fried fresh fish from the markets in Brittany (France), took a few bites of his fish and said, “They really know how to cook here.” I agreed with him and almost wished I had ordered the same thing.
The first taste of my al dente pasta made with ahi tuna, red onion, capers, tomatoes, red peppers, and herb sauce ($8.95) dispelled any pangs of jealousy I was harboring. I twirled the pasta, parmesan and vegetables. I used my crusty bread to surreptitiously soak up some of the sauce. Dishes like this make me remember why pasta remains one of my favorite foods.
Desserts change daily at Tico’s, but Laurent and I can recommend the chocolate mousse ($3.50) and brownie sundae ($3.50). Laurent’s dish arrived with a raspberry coulis zigzag pattern on his plate. Raspberries decorated the mousse in its chocolate shell, and three more sat off to the side with a mint leaf for decoration. Chocoholic Laurent said the thick mousse tasted great.
Raspberry coulis covered the ball of ice cream on top of my homemade brownie with walnuts. Strawberry slivers with mint leaves decorated my plate. I liked this dessert.
A few days later we came back for breakfast. I had the seafood omelet ($8.25). This came with butterflied, broiled shrimp and crab meat in addition to melted provolone. Lemony hollandaise sauce topped off the omelet.
The real crab meat made this especially good.
Laurent ordered French toast ($5.50) with accompanying fresh fruit. The French toast usually comes with sourdough bread, but Laurent substituted wheat with no problem. Florence had a half-order of pancakes ($3.25). These were too thick for her liking. We all liked Tico’s freshly squeezed orange juice.
Laurent and I are quite pleased with this new restaurant in
our neighborhood. The tasty and beautifully presented food,
friendly service, immaculately clean dining area, and good
prices have made Tico’s one of our new favorite spots.
330 Reservation Road, Marina | 582-2509
7am-3pm Tues-Sun, closed Mon