100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 80 Tico

Tico. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

A graffiti-scrawled pan-Latin dining room is not the first place we’d have expected to find one of the best all-American cookie plates we’ve eaten (oh, that peanut-butter-sandwich cookie!). Then again, Boston chef Michael Schlow doesn’t play by many rules at his first DC restaurant.

The sprawling small-plates menu, which swings all over South and Central America, and even through Spain, can be tricky to navigate. Our advice? Load up on veggie dishes—especially the salsa-verde-sauced cabbage salad and the roasted cauliflower with fava beans. Ceviches show an uncommon knack for creating layers of texture, and the excellent scallop version is by turns crunchy (thanks to crispy brown rice) and creamy (a smooth avocado purée). Finish with a round of tacos—and don’t forget that cookie plate.

Don’t miss:

  • Mac and cheese
  • Beets with spiced yogurt
  • Pressed chicken
  • Duck, edamame, and two-texture beef tacos
  • Caju caipirinha

Try Tico’s Chef Recipes

Michael Schlow’s Fried-Chicken Tacos

Tico’s Roasted Beets with Pistachios and Spicy Yogurt

Tico’s Caju Caipirinha

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