New in Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto: Nico's 1508

The scenic spot has filet mignon, crab Benedict, Golden Gate Bridge views, and more.


Images courtesy of Nico's 1508

Newly established in the prime Gourmet Ghetto space formerly occupied by Nico's Hideaway, Nico's 1508 has a new chef, new management, a new menu, a new look, and yes, a new name.

"While this physical space has long been a part of Berkeley's culinary community, our new menu is completely different and we believe it is more in line with what the neighborhood is looking for," said Nico's 1508 executive chef and managing partner Munther Massarweh.

That new menu includes starters (priced at $11 to $28) such as burrata with microgreens, oven-roasted tomatoes, and balsamic glaze; steamed Mediterranean mussels with red curry kaffir lime broth; and mini Angus sliders with aged cheddar and truffle aioli. Main-dish options ($16 to $75) include herb-seared diver scallops with pea and saffron risotto, red wine emulsion, microgreen salad, and white sturgeon caviar; braised short rib of beef with warm butter beans, a mushroom and watercress salad, rich bone marrow reduction, and crispy onions; deconstructed salmon salad with seasonal fixin's; stuffed boneless quail with herb couscous, squash purée, Meyer lemon, and olive oil-braised baby carrots, roasted garlic, watercress salad, and truffle-oil drizzle; and a prime bone-in ribeye with caramelized onion and truffle butter. 

Guests can also order from an array of house-made sauces including bourbon demiglaze, peppercorn-bone marrow reduction, lemon-thyme butter, classic Béarnaise, and more.

The menu also includes house-made seasonal desserts. Weekend brunches feature traditional classics (such as scrambles, omelets, and waffles) and creative choices (such as pork-belly tacos; crab-florentine pot pies; duck confit with sweet red cabbage and fennel slaw; and an ahi-tuna and caviar tower) along with bottomless mimosas. 

The beverage list includes international wines, local craft beers, and cocktails. A nightly happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. offers half-off the prices of all appetizers, bottles of wine, and signature cocktails.

Best-known for serving as the youngest executive chef in the history of Chicago's famous Pump Room, Massarweh has helmed Bay Area restaurants including McCormick & Kuleto's, Perry's Restaurant, and the Fillmore Bar & Grill. He currently owns Wildfox, the Speakeasy Sports Bar, and the Speakeasy Barbeque, all in Novato.

Nico's 1508 includes such design features as sidewalk seating, a skylight, a rooftop patio with a Golden Gate Bridge view,  and romantic private booths. 

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