It’s destined to be one of the best new restaurants of 2016, and Downtown Gilbert’s getting the first taste.
Nico is the newest project from James Beard nominee and masterful chef/businessman Gio Osso, who isn’t just the brains and the talent behind the new operation, set to open Saturday, May 14 – he’s also a close neighbor.
“I’ll be onsite every day,” said the lauded chef, who lives just down the block from the restaurant’s location. “From making all pasta in-house and by hand to picking and delivering fresh produce from the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, Nico is literally going to be my home away from home.”
It’s appropriate, then, that its namesake is Osso’s own firstborn son, though it’s unclear whether by “home” he’s referring to his family home in Gilbert or his other labor of love, Scottsdale’s fine-dining destination, Virtu, where he’ll continue to split his time. This time around, though, it’s all about Gilbert, and Osso is thrilled to be the first to give the town a truly unique and distinctive culinary point of pride. Joining Gio on the new venture is partner and general manager Brad Kircher, who will be overseeing the operations at the new restaurant.
Nico’s fare is perhaps best described as West Coast-inspired seasonal Italian, with Osso’s characteristic emphasis on heirloom family recipes and local ingredients interwoven throughout the menu. Destination-worthy dishes include handmade pastas such as the Buccatini Con Le Sarde boasting fresh sardines, roasted garlic and breadcrumbs, and Cioppino, Osso’s inventive take on the classic Fisherman’s stew. Bigger appetites can feast on the likes of a Bistecca Tagliata, a 50 oz. prime tomahawk ribeye that offers both a full stomach and an eyeful.
Nico’s delicate crudos, fresh seafood specialties and wood-fired family recipes are best enjoyed with wine, and Nico’s expansive wine list leaves little to be desired. With an expansive number of by-the-glass options and an equally impressive lineup of domestic and imported draft beers, Nico’s beverage offerings deliver as much as its dishes.
Comfortable enough for an after-work happy hour, Nico steps up its game when the lights go down. The ambiance is equal parts comfortable and luxurious, thanks to artistic touches including aged brick finishes, modern white fixtures and an open, showpiece kitchen where guests can watch Osso in action. Exterior features include crisp white planters overflowing with fresh herbs, and it all comes together to create a classic, tailored atmosphere ideal for fine dining.
Nico’s full menu and more will be available soon, with doors officially slated to open Saturday, May 14. To score a grand opening party invite, visit NicoAZ.com
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© Taryn Jeffries 2016