That would be me, on the left, and Ally (my sister). Post-theater, pre-dinner.
After our theater-filled afternoon, the two of us, our dad, and our grandmother took a short walk across town for a long, slow meal at Fig and Olive. The restaurant seemed an ideal choice for our family, as the menu includes a host of flavor pairings ideal for sharing. Each dish is paired with a different olive oil, selected to compliment and enhance the ingredients.
Upon entering, we were greeted by appropriately Mediterranean decor – wooden floors, metal tables, hues of pale gold and terra cotta. Our table’s location near the partially open kitchen provided glimpses of the chefs, visible through spaces between the bottles of olive oil covering the expanse of the wall.
Once seated, we were presented with a tasting of olive oils and fresh foccacia.
First up in the decision-making process was wine. My dad and I settled on a bottle of Feudo Arancio pinot noir, which was a delicious choice from Sicily. Each bottle on the menu represented the various regions of Mediterranean wine country, staying true to the restaurant’s roots.
Once that selection was past us, we were faced with the tremendous task of choosing just a few dishes from this:
These were just the appetizers! Fig and Olive really has a fabulous menu for people who enjoy sharing, and if the entrees hadn’t been so good, I could easily recommend crafting a tapas-like dinner from the first page of the menu.
After 45 minutes of debate and a host of questions for our server, we eventually decided on a spread of starters to share. The restaurant also determined it was time for “mood lighting,” so the lights were dimmed, and my photo quality diminished.
First up, a fig and gorgonzola tart, with prosciutto, tomatoes, walnuts, and arugula. My dad dominated this one, but I can attest to the fact that the figs literally melted in my mouth.
And then, the assortment that was at the center of most of our deliberating. At the bottom, a sesame tuna carpaccio. Above, a sextet of crostinis, Fig and Olive’s brilliant answer to bruschetta. We chose:
- shrimp, avocado, cilantro [everyone’s favorite, obviously]
- salmon, ricotta, tomato
- prosciutto, fig, walnuts, black olives
- manchego, fig spread, almonds
- mushroom, parmesan, truffle oil
- eggplant, basil, sun dried tomato
I love being part of a family that enjoys food. I was able to take bites of everything, slowly savor a diverse set of flavors, and never once feel overstuffed.
Between our appetizers and entrees, we enjoyed a long break. I always enjoy space between courses; clearly, dining is one of my favorite activities, and drawing it out, leaving room to digest and to chat, is perfectly fine by me.
This was my original choice for an entree, entitled “Trio de la Mer,” a tasting of salmon with couscous, orange, and apricot; branzino with figs and balsamic vinegar; and a sea scallop over an artichoke truffle tapenade. However, my sister called it first, and I’ve got to abide by the rules…
So I ended up with the largest piece of fish I’ve ever been faced with: what must’ve been a pound of salmon, over oregano, zucchini, fennel, olives, and tomatoes. My sister’s salmon was actually overcooked (the one low point to an otherwise wonderful meal), so she helped me with mine.
For dessert, I immediately knew what I was ordering, as it seemed most appropriate for a restaurant dedicated to olive oils:
Olive oil gelato, with blood oranges and delicate shortbread cookies. I savored every last bite, and it was delicious. Ice cream/ gelato may just be my favorite dessert – nothing compares to the smooth, rich coolness of a spoonful of the real stuff.
As we were preparing to leave, my family discussed the dilemma of New York. This restaurant has such a varied and well-prepared menu that we would be happy to visit again and craft another, different meal. The problem? There are only about one thousand other restaurants in the city that we would also like to try. So, I might not be back, but if I did choose to return, it would certainly be worth it.
Do you like to try different restaurants? Or are you happy to return to old favorites?