January 30, 2010

Fig & Olive

Last Monday just so happened to be the two-year mark since I met ABF on our first date. We met after work--ABF even trekked out to our not-so-convenient studio to see where we make the magic happen. ;) Then we headed over to our Midtown east destination: Fig & Olive. This was also Restaurant Week, which means you can order from a pared-down menu for a flat rate of 35 dollars each.

We were both verrrry hungry when we sat down for our 7pm reservation, so I was glad to see a trio of olive oils with some rosemary bread. The oils were from (top to bottom in photo) Spain, France, and Tunisia. The Spanish one was my favorite, very grassy, green, and fresh. The French one was my least favorite--it had a very bitter tinge to it. It wasn't terrible, just not something I felt compelled to finish.

ABF ordered the chicken samosas. They came two to a plate and they're not the heavy, starchy samosas you might have had at Indian restaurants. These were in light, flaky phyllo dough, which a cilantro-laden sauce that was show-stopping. I took a bite and immediately had dish envy (when am I going to learn to just order whatever he orders? He nails it almost EVERY. TIME!) He was sweet enough to give me a second precious bite. We definitely wished there were more of these... like 5 or 6 more? But even just one more would have been nice. :)

I often find myself stuck on 2 choices when perusing a menu, and I will not hesitate to ask the server what s/he recommends. They have usually eaten a meal or two, or heard a complaint or rave or two, so I trust their opinion. I asked our server if he'd pick the fish stew or the tomato-red pepper soup, and he said 'pepper soup' before I'd even finished my last syllable. That was enough for me! I ordered it, and it was super duper. It was creamy without having any dairy in it, and its texture was almost completely smooth, with just a slight pulpy texture from the peppers. The flavors were balanced right between the two, with bites having both strong tomato and red pepper influences. The portion was pretty darn generous, too, so I shared a lot with ABF. His appetizer was even tastier than mine, but there was a lot more of mine to go around. ;) The bread crisps on the side were just okay--they were pretty bland, but we used them to soak up the sauce from ABF's app, so they served a good purpose!

Kevin ordered the filet mignon entrée, which came with a parsley sauce, fingerling potatoes, and some sort of purée on the side. I had a bite of the steak, and it was cooked right and tasted very good, but it wasn't anything compared to those chicken samosas! I think we both agreed that this was just good, not great.

I chose the seafood paella. Restaurant Week servings are often limited and smaller than normal, but that's okay, considering we don't normally order an appetizer AND dessert when we go out to eat. My dish was good, with interesting flavors. I'm a sucker for grilled shrimp and scallops, and these were tender and tasty. I wasn't crazy about the rice, but as you know, I'm not that crazy about it, period. I think ABF actually liked this better than I did. Both of our entrées were about to get overshadowed by the two desserts

There were only two choices: a chocolate pot du creme and the "dessert crostini." I, of course, chose the chocolate, as ABF is not so huge a fan and I definitely am. I saw his crostini had Amarena cherries, though, which I love, so I knew I'd enjoy his, too. Ah, sharing. Isn't it sweet? But back to my dessert. Holy RICHNESS. This thing was awesome. It as better than the best chocolate pudding/custard/creme brulee you've ever had. It had a thin layer of real cream on top, and the chocolate was smooth, dense, dark, and absolutely divine. I couldn't scrape enough of it out. Even ABF had not one, but two bites! If he goes back for a second bite of anything chocolate, it is noteworthy. Oh man this was so so so so good.

But these cherry-topped beauties below are what will bring me back to Fig & Olive. Heavens to mergatroid! They are sandy, not-too-crumbly shortbreads with mascarpone cheese, amarena cherries, and chopped pistachios. And they. are. AWESOME. ABF was more than generous in giving me one all for myself! I ate half first, then ate my dessert, then finished up with the cookie. Worth every single delicious crumb. Wow. It's just BARELY sweet, and it's tangy and zingy and bursting with cherry and creaminess and wow. Sooooooooooo good.

I highly recommend this place for their apps and desserts. I would probably sit at the bar next time and stick to the small plates--the entrées weren't amazing. The smaller plates absolutely were, though!

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