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By Erica Jackson Curran / April 3, 12:00 AM
TICO freshens up with a new chef, menu

It would be easy enough for a restaurant to rest on its laurels after being named one of the best new eateries in America by Esquire magazine, but Back Bay hot spot TICO continues to innovate with a revamped menu and a new chef.

Leo Asaro
TICO founder, James Beard Award winner Michael Schlow, has brought on Leo Asaro as the restaurant’s new executive chef. The pair has worked together for nearly a decade at Schlow’s restaurants Radius and Via Matta. “I have watched him grow from a young, passionate line cook into a great chef with excellent instincts and technique,” Schlow said in a release. “I am thrilled to see Leo take over as executive chef, as his inventiveness and bold flavors will bring new excitement to TICO.”

The menu maintains its focus on small plates influenced by Latin flavors, but several of the mainstays have been reimagined, and there are plenty of newcomers as well. There are 45 plates in all divided into six categories: Ceviche, A La Plancha, Small Plates, Entrees and Can’t Decide (chef’s choice).

On a recent visit to sample the menu, our favorites were the razor clams ceviche with pineapple, horseradish and cilantro; the sweet corn with smoked bacon, jalepenos and Thai basil; and rustic roasted golden beets with pistachios, capers and spicy yogurt.

A few other new additions to the lineup: Duck tacos with charred serranos and papaya-onion salsa; local scallops with blood orange aioli, scallions and puffed wild rice; and Spanish octopus a la plancha with tangerines, pickled leeks and aji amarillo (pictured above).

“I’ve always been attracted to the bold flavors and fun ambiance at TICO,” Asaro says. “I’m excited to work with all of these different products and ingredients – especially the abundance of chiles.”

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