For downtown Gilbert's first upscale, chef-driven, casual restaurant, Nico Heirloom Kitchen is all about its local, seasonal, and fresh ingredients. From signature dishes, to salads and appetizers and ambiance, Nico offers a local touch in every aspect of the restaurant.
As the seasons change, and produce comes in and out of season, Nico rolls out new menu items to ensure the West Coast-inspired seasonal Italian cuisine is as fresh, and local, as possible.
"While we do change our menus seasonally, the change is more of a focus on the product that is introduced into the market year-round," says Brad Kircher, owner of Nico Heirloom Kitchen. "Our team goes out to explore the markets and get feedback from our purveyors weekly. We are lucky that Arizona has plenty of options throughout the year to choose from produce wise. Right now, we enjoy working with some different types of corn, arugula, and cucumber."
Nico has recently rolled out a new menu, with the focus on fresh produce throughout the Valley. From the appetizers and salads to main entrees and sides, the Arizona-inspired menu features a variety of new dishes that are offered through the fall.
The new menu features appetizer dishes including: filet tips boasting poblano crema, pickled onion, gorgonzola, roasted tomato; a fresh seasonal hummus with white tepary bean, picked vegetables and herb flatbread; octopus featuring poblano peppers, chorizo garbanzo, arugula, pickled onion; and a mussels dish with Schreiner chorizo, blistered tomato, white wine and served with noble bread.
The new salad menu features a grilled Caesar salad with romaine, micro crouton, parmesan, topped with Nico Caesar; an heirloom tomato caprese with local heirloom tomato, fresh mozzarella, balsamic and basil; and a melon and prosciutto salad with farm-fresh melon, prosciutto, balsamic, arugula and chevre.
Nico’s seasonal main dishes include rainbow trout with a charred tomato, artichoke, red potato and spinach and a porchetta with house-made sausage, tomato barley and arugula. Top off your meal with the new side dish Chevre bacon with grilled asparagus and tomato barley.
"We source our produce locally through Peddler's Son - they have great quality, and it is a well-run company. We also source direct from the farmers market on Saturdays. It's a great way to understand where our food is coming from before incorporating it into our dishes. Talking to local farmers gives an understanding of how lucky we are in Arizona, and it helps with creating new unique dishes throughout the year," says Kircher. "It's all about relationships, and these relationships and markets help us keep the high standards we have for our ingredients."
When new dishes are rolled out, Kircher and his team take note from customers on which plates should stick around for the long run. "We change the menu constantly throughout the year. Typically we will run specials and get feedback from our guests. If the dish is outstanding and the guest enjoys it, we will decide if it's a good fit for our menu," explains Kircher.
One of those dishes that has stuck around is the braised short rib. The balsamic braised short rib features oven-roasted potatoes, pickled onion and chevre. The signature octopus appetizer has also found a place on the permanent Nico menu, but received a seasonal facelift.
Locally owned and operated, the team at Nico Heirloom Kitchen is onsite every day handling everything from hand-rolling pasta to selecting fresh produce to feature in heirloom family recipes. Stop in for brunch, lunch or dinner seven days a week for a taste of Nico's signature dishes and classically tailored ambiance.
Comfortable enough for an after-work light bite or brunch on Sundays, Nico steps up its game when the lights go down. The ambiance of Nico is equal parts comfortable and luxurious, thanks to artistic touches, including aged brick finishes and modern white fixtures. The open, showpiece kitchen is a great feature where guests can watch the kitchen staff master their craft. Exterior features include crisp white planters overflowing with fresh, local, herbs, and that all comes together to create a classic, tailored atmosphere ideal for fine dining.
Nico Heirloom Kitchen is located at 366 North Gilbert Road. For more information, visit http://www.nicoaz.com
By Kelly Potts
Photo Courtesy of Nico Heirloom Kitchen