Nicos, Mexico City, 1/20/17

building
building

Nicos is a large place that was fairly empty when we arrived for an early lunch but by 3:00 it was packed and hopping with live music and a very dynamic buzz.  It has been a family run restaurant for 60 years that serves homestyle food at a good value. Not fancy but so very welcoming, we were fortunate to have the assistance of several very bilingual staff that helped us make our menu and wine selections from the large lists.  They were also willing to let us split a number of the dishes and they plated it that way when possible.  Tables are set with various bottles of water and wine, the former of which was useful but the latter an interesting decorative choice. However as the crowd grew I was surprised to see more wine than beer consumption, so maybe the choice was about their customer base which also didn’t seem to include many tourists.  

entrance
entrance
interior
interior
interior
interior
table set up
table set up
Frankie and the table decorations
Frankie and the table decorations
menu cover
menu cover
introduction
introduction

 

menu 2
menu 2
menu 3
menu 3
menu 4
menu 4
menu 5
menu 5
menu 6
menu 6
menu 7
menu 7
menu 8
menu 8
menu 9
menu 9

 

Tables also are quickly furnished with crisp thick chips and 3 different sauces, which varied more in flavor than just levels of spiciness.  While making choices they brought out a very tasty thick slice of cucumber that had been infused with lemon and spicy salt.  It didn’t seem exciting but it really was.

tamarindm tomato and pepper sauces as well as salt
tamarind tomato and pepper sauces as well as salt
cucumber amuse bouche
cucumber amuse bouche
chips
chips
Frankie explored the sauces, chips and limes
Frankie explored the sauces, chips and limes

 

Our first selection was the guacamole made tableside. The cart comes with tomatoes, onions, olive oil, salt, cilantro and peppers that can be added to your avocado as you desire.  It was scrumptious and really didn’t need to be enhanced with any of the sauces but it was fun to play with the different options. They also brought a basket of bread but it paled in comparison to the warm, tender corn tortillas that were constantly being refreshed on the table.

Guacamole cart
Guacamole cart
made tableside
made tableside
seasoned to your preference
seasoned to your preference
Frankie visited the cart
Frankie visited the cart
finished product
finished product: Molcajete de guacamole. Preparado en su mesa, acompañado con tortillas recién hechas
closer
closer
Breads
Breads

 

The gorditas were 4 in an order and all different flavors. These did benefit from the addition of some of the sauces.  They were all quite different but good. I was surprised to particularly like the brown puffy one that had no filling at all just the most delectable texture and flavor that it really stood alone with no problem.

Gorditas
Gorditas Infladas – De la abuela elaboradoas con maíz rosa; De chicharrón; Sopecitos con mollejas de pato confitado; Chalupitas
fresh, warm tortillas
fresh, warm tortillas
Tortilla pouch
Tortilla pouch
wine front
wine front
wine back
wine back

 

We tried 2 of their soups, the fideo was studded with chunks of ham that was so long cooked it melted in your mouth.  The noodles were cooked soft and were surrounded by a lovely broth.  The flavor content here was mild but the overall effect was so nice that I would consider ordering it again.

fideo
Sopa de fideos con mollejas. Sencilla sopa casera, uno de los clásicos de Nicos.
closer
closer

 

The 3 bean soup was drizzled with a bit of olive oil at the table.  The broth was poured over some crisp tortilla strips that gave a nice crunch and good corn taste to the dish.  The beans were cooked perfectly here, melding into something you can imagine coming out of your grandmother’s kitchen pot.  With the soups they brought a warm loaf of beer bread which was dense with a nice crisp crust. They catered to the Americans and brought us some butter to spread on it which was just too fun.

start of bean soup
start of bean soup
add beans
add beans
add a sprinkle of olive oil
add a sprinkle of olive oil
hot bread
hot bread
Frankie checked out the inside
Frankie checked out the inside

 

The first main dish was pork smothered with mole and beans. It was about the most tender and juicy pork I have ever put in my mouth. This mole sauce was mild and not as heavy as many mole sauces but was a perfect seasoning for the pork.  It was dusted with ash that I could have lived without as it was almost gritty and basically added no taste.  Nevertheless this plate was a complete winner.

pork
Chuleta de cerdo en chilmole. Con chilmole negro, pimiento morrón, cebolla morada y epazote
Frankie went looking for a warm tortilla
Frankie went looking for a warm tortilla

 

The mole almendrado was next and wow make sure you save room for this.  This is recipe of the owner, who happened to be sitting next to us having her own lunch with friends. I was glad to have the opportunity to tell her how delicious it was.  The amazing flavor was a wonderful balance of sweet, smoke, and spicy. Better believe that this plate went back to the kitchen clean! Yumx3!

mole
Mole almendrado de la casa o mole verde de Doña Elena. Mole tradicional de Nicos, acompañado con un tamalate de anís. Con pechuga de pato
closer
closer
beans and rice
beans and rice
owner
Chef/owner Doña Elena and Frankie
honor
honor

 

The waiter insisted we try their special Café de Olla that is prepared tableside, taking about 10 minutes for the complete process.  It is thick coffee mixed with brown sugar and cinnamon to deliver a wealth of flavors.

coffee service
coffee service for Café de Olla
heat everything
heat everything
coffee ready
coffee ready
special filter
special filter
pour it up
pour it up
Frankie found some green glass louvers
Frankie found some green glass louvers

 

introduction
introduction
dessert menu 2
dessert menu 2
dessert 3
dessert 3
dessert 4
dessert 4
coffee info
coffee info
Coffee
Coffee
Nespresso
Nespresso
closing pic
closing picture

 

For dessert we had buñuelos which were drizzled with a sweet sauce and sugar. They were simple, crispy and scrumptious.  A traditional dessert done well.

dessert
Buñuelos de rodilla – con almibar de piloncillo y hoja de higo

 

The Dueto de capirotadas was bread that had been soaked in milk and mixed with raisins and then coated with a sugar glaze. It was a gooey wonderful sugar fix made even better with a grating of cheese over it.  It was amazing how this took a straightforward sweet and turned it into something really special – a wonderful balance of flavors.  Another winner!

bread dessert
Dueto de capirotadas – Insustituible receta de “Doña Carmen Estévez de Vázquez” con queso Cotija región de origen
Add cheese
Add cheese
Frankie liked both desserts
Frankie liked both desserts

 

Some last treats included a tray of coconut and sweet potato candies.  We finished with a special glass of Mezcal with cedrone served on ice – to bring out the taste.  It was a perfect finish for a wonderful dining experience.  If you have the opportunity, go to this place and ask for Aaron to be your waiter.

Extra treats
Extra treats
Mezcal
Mezcal with cedrone
img_3708
That put Frankie over the top
room filled
room filled
room filled
room filled
interior
interior
live music
live music
Frankie and waiter
Frankie and our wonderful waiter Aaron Victoria Valentín

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