Review: Nicholson’s

I have to admit that Nicholson’s is an old favorite of mine. I went there for the first time when I was working for a venture capital firm here in town. It was my first week, and they were celebrating one of the partners’ birthdays. That was when I got addicted to Sticky Toffee Pudding and it was all downhill from there.

Nicholson’s is Scottish through and through– from the kilt-wearing waiters and doorman to the selections of scotch and beer, to their annual festival that involves haggis (I hear), it’s a great change of pace from the typical UK-style pub (which tends to be Irish). It is owned by The Tavern Group, which also owns deSha’s, The Pub at Rookwood Mews, and the Polo Grille (with multiple locations of both deSha’s and The Pub). You can see some crossover in Nicholson’s menu– they serve the same Prime Rib as deSha’s, and the same fried pickles as The Pub.

On Friday night, we grabbed a reservation on OpenTable for around 9:30. We figured we’d miss the Sweeney Todd traffic on both ends and we were right. The place was bustling but not packed and we were seated and served quickly and efficiently.

I am just getting comfortable whipping out the camera in restaurants, so I bring you my first photograph of food from an actual restaurant. Are you impressed? I didn’t think so.

Ahi tuna from Nicholson's.

I know. Not irish. It’s their seared Ahi tuna with ponzu sauce, wasabi cream, apple-mango salsa; served on top of a roasted potato cake. It’s my favorite thing on the menu, and it’s not Scottish. Oops. I try to eat a little lighter when I can, and since this dish is prepared perfectly every time, it’s a great choice. Ponzu is a citrusy, tart soy-based sauce (I had to look it up) that pairs beautifully with cool freshness of the salsa and the creaminess of the wasabi.

Terry picked up the prime rib– the Braveheart cut– which is served with a baked potato, mushrooms stuffed with pearl onions, and horseradish cream. It is flavorful, juicy and always cooked to Terry’s specifications. Quite often, our understanding of “rare” and the restaurant’s are two totally different things. This is always textbook rare, and delicious to boot.

We finished with sticky toffee pudding, and I promise the next time we go, we’ll get a picture. It’s served with toffee sauce and drambuie cream, and it is by far my favorite dessert downtown.

And, good news! You can check them out for restaurant week! Log onto for reservations, or The Tavern Group for more information.

Nicholson's Tavern & Pub on Urbanspoon