Metro Station: Saint Philippe du Roule (Line 9)
Type of cuisine: French
Days & hours of operation: Open seven days a week from noon to 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Open for Sunday brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, Amex
Located on the corner of rues Jean Mermoz and Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Tico is a spacious, smartly decorated restaurant serving great cuisine. We had the occasion to dine here the day before it closed for summer vacation.
The walls of the restaurant are painted in light tones of grey; wall benches and chairs exhibit mustard-colored, vinyl upholstery; the floor is comprised of smooth, mid-tone wooden planks; and the artwork on the walls provide a touch of modernity. The décor is minimalist without being stark. While we dined, rhythm and blues, and then disco, played softly over the sound system.
We dined here to take advantage of a promotional 45€ three-course menu, including champagne, a mise en bouche(appetizer), and a glass of wine, that the restaurant was offering through a Web site called LaFourchette.com. It seemed like a good deal, and by the time that we had finished the meal, we congratulated ourselves for trying it!
To begin the meal the waitress served us each a glass of Vincent Gonet champagne, which we found wonderfully crisp and dry.
Next, a mise en bouche (appetizer) appeared. Called Tartare au saumon, it consisted of cubed salmon seasoned with chopped chives. A tartare, in France, is generally a plate of chopped, raw beef served with raw egg yolk and condiments. In this case, the tartare was marinated, cubed salmon. It was fresh and delicious!
The promotional menu offered the choice between two starters of meat or seafood, two main courses of fowl or fish, and two desserts. We decided, therefore, that I would order the seafood and fish courses and that my partner would order the meat and fowl. For the starter, I ordered Tourteau décortiqué à huile d’olive, écrasé d’avocat, a dish of shredded crab meat served with crushed avocado. The presentation was beautiful: a narrow, rectangular portion of crab and avocado was served on a narrow, rectangular dish. Circular touches of vinaigrette dotted the side of the plate.
My partner was served Brioche fondante, two small mounds of layered ham, sliced artichoke heart, and smoked Italian cheese atop a small round of brioche. Each serving was topped with a potato chip sliced so thin that it was transparent. Apart from the fact that the brioche needed a little salt, it was a flavorful dish.
For the main course, I opted for the Espadon grillé, parfum citronnelle, tempura de légumes, sésames grillées. The grilled swordfish arrived as a triangular-shaped, 1” thick steak cooked à point, succulent and tender. The meat of the fish was dense, not flaky. A carefully arranged mound of deep-fried, breaded zucchini was served on the side. There was also a small dish containing a sweet and spicy dipping sauce made from crushed red pepper seeds for the zucchini.
My partner was very pleased with her Pintade suprême en médaillon, pastilla d’abricots secs. She received round slices of guinea fowl covered with a slightly sweet reduction and sprinkled with bits of fig. Alongside was a mixture of guinea fowl and dried apricots that had been wrapped and baked in brik pastry and garnished with bits of fig, which she especially enjoyed. A small, copper casserole containing garden-fresh peas, diced carrots, and bits of fennel accompanied the course.
As part of the menu promotion, we had a choice between red and white wine. We both selected the Chardonnay, a Casa Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre 2007 from Chile. It had a flowery to fruity aroma, and, as I had guessed from its caramel flavor, had been aged in oak barrels.
Thinly-sliced country bread was served alongside in a folded napkin.
For dessert, I selected Millefeuille aux fruits rouges, raspberries and strawberries served in a pâte feuillété along with a scoop of fig sorbet. As always, the millefeuille is frustrating to eat, because it crushes so easily under the pressure of a fork. But this did not deter me, and I found the dessert to be delicate and delectable! My partner yearned for theSoufflé aux pépites de chocolat and declared that the soufflé here was the best that she had ever tasted. Served in a small copper casserole, it was bursting with chocolate flavor.
I finished the meal with an espresso, and was served two canelé-shaped chocolate confections containing a sweet caramel-flavored center.
The waitresses were friendly and helpful. A one point, the waitress returned with the name of the wine that she had served, written down on a piece of paper. Another waitress offered to take a photograph of us at our table.
The bill for two persons, including two three-course promotional menus at 45€ each, plus a liter of sparkling water, and an espresso, came to 101.40€. This was, for us, a delightful evening spent at a restaurant that turned out to be a great discovery!
Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975. A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992. Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris. His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.” He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.