Place Category: Restaurants
Don Day Review of Nicasio
Nicasio. Common things, done uncommonly well.
Entrepreneur. I think I wanted to be one from the very time I learned what the word meant.
I remember the day I walked into The Ad Club. Someone came over to the bar and said, “Hear you left McLaren. Who picked you up?”
“No one,” I said. “I went out on my own. Opened my own shop,”
“Ooooooh, entrepreneur, eh?”, came the reply with a tone of voice that made me realize he knew that “left” was a synonym for “been let go by” and that I didn’t have a single, solitary client.
I was thinking of that day when I was in the new restaurant Nicasio last week. That job I “left” was the last time I ever worked for somebody else and I was wishing that might be the case for Hugo, Manny and Pablo, the three guys who had opened this imaginative restaurant a couple of months ago. They’re about the same age as I was and have the same amount of enthusiasm and, I suspect, a lot more confidence.
Hugo Tepichin, Manny Flores and Pablo Nicasio met about eight years ago, working in a restaurant in Mexico City along with another entrepreneurial guy called Marco Cruz. Three years ago, when Marco came to San Miguel de Allende to work at the restaurant Bui, the guys joined him. It’s obvious that the three have a lot of respect for Marco Cruz’ talents so, last year, when Marco and his wife Sofia opened their own restaurant, Nomada, I’m sure they were proud but I’m also sure there was a little envy.
“When I heard this place was available and took a look, I knew it was our turn”, said Manny Flores. “I talked to Hugo and Pablo and it was a go.”
“The dishes we’re trying to create are the dishes we grew up with. What we ate with our families. What we’d eat when the guys were out for the evening,” said Manny, who looks a little more like a revolutionary than a restauranteur. “We’re not trying to invent anything but we are trying to improve some things.”
There are very few things on Nicasio’s current menu (it changes monthly) that you won’t find in a lot of the classic Mexican restaurants in San Miguel, places like El Correo, Don Tomás, Los Milagros or El Pegaso. What you will find though is a little tweak here, an extra ingredient there, and artistic plating that rivals the not so classic Mexican restaurants in San Miguel, places like Moxi, Aperi or Nomada.
Enchiladas verdes is a good example of an everyday dish you’ll find at Nicasio. Though it never gets the amount of plaudits it deserves when Mexican cuisine is discussed, the simple green sauce made primarily with tomatillos and chiles is one of the best combinations of tart and tangy you will find anywhere.
There is a delightful freshness to Nicasio’s version and the topping of a fanned avocado, verdolaga and cilantro criollo is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the tongue.
Between stints at Bui and Nomada, Manny Flores operated Tuna Maria, a small tortilleria in Mercado Sano. There, he produced tortillas using some of the non-hybridized corn varieties origin