Maison Nico softly swings open this weekend, filling its new modern glass cases with elaborately packed paté en croute and many-layered brioche feuilletée. This is the latest iteration of Nico, the French spot in historic Jackson Square which previously held one shining Michelin star.
It has been a journey that didn’t happen this year for spouses-turned-business partners Nicolas and Andrea Delaroque, who were planning to spend the year in France with their daughter but never even got wheels off the ground. Sadly, Gap Year at Nico, the plan for the interim, was also cut short after only a few months due to the pandemic. But now, Nico is personally back in the kitchen.
Apparently, the savory chef, who was previously known for his seasonal tasting menus, is more recently obsessed with paté and pastry — and the results are gorgeous.
Maison Nico is calling itself an epicerie, which literally means spice shop, but Nico says is “the French version of a deli,” selling a variety of prepared foods. The meaty side of the menu features paté en croute, wrapped in a pastry crust with several different fillings, from the familiar country-style pork and duck to tongue and blood sausage. The terrines drop the pastry and go all in on filling, such as duck with chewy dried figs and sweet madeira. And there’s aspic, so rarely seen, including lobster and fennel dramatically suspended in gelatin. They also plan to import a few supporting items, so never fear, the cornichons are coming.
On the sweeter side, pastry fans will have already spotted the brioche feuilletée, the Instagram sensation that started popping up at the Morris and Ferry Building last month. It’s basically a brioche dough sheeted like croissant, but Nico is also folding it into a serpentine and flipping it up to expose the cut edge, which is particularly striking. It’s joined by a seasonal tart, which is currently pear, nutty financiers, and a Parisian flan, which is an exceptionally thick custard, generously flecked with vanilla bean and poured into another flaky crust. And both patés and brioche are available by the loaf, pound, or slice for various takeout options.
Paté calls for good wine as buttery pastry calls for strong coffee, and the drinks deliver. The Delaroques are joining forces with longtime friend and colleague Paul Einbund as an equal-part co-owner for this new venture. Einbund is also the owner and sommelier of the Morris, and he is now stocking the wine case at Maison Nico with French and Californian sparkling and rosé, as well as canning his own cocktails. But brioche begs for coffee and he swears that the chartreuse cappuccino is the breakfast of champions.
Maison Nico is now open Wednesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is takeout only to start, but plans to eventually add delivery and shipping, if you wanted to send a magnum and an entire paté en croute across the country for a particularly outrageous holiday gathering.