Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fig n Olive

To celebrate Restaurant Week and all it’s half-priced meals, I perused the entire list of participating restaurants on the NYC website.  Okay, maybe not the entire list, but most of it.

I narrowed down my choices to four restaurants:
  1. -       Ember Room
  2. -       Butter
  3. -       Fig n Olive
  4. -       French Culinary Institute

Hubby and I were both leaning towards the French place, but it was booked to the max, unsurprisingly.

My second option was Butter, because its Yelp ratings were high and it looked pretty good from the pictures. But Hubby was leaning towards Fig n Olive, so we went for that.

It was a good thing that we made reservations for 2 on a Monday night. I didn’t know restaurants could get this crowded on a Monday night, until I saw Fig n Olive. Didn’t look like it was going to be that crowded from the outside, but when we stepped in its was crowded (both floors) of people. Thanks to our reservation, we grabbed two seats on the upstairs seating area, which was also almost full of young and old socialites dressed in nice suits chatting up a storm.

We passed by the large fig flower centerpiece to be seated on the couches. I really liked their Mediterranean décor – it was like art deco meets the ocean, with metallic overhangs of fig leaves and pictures of fig flowers and trees.

We were seated next to a group of two chatty ladies. A waitress came along with the menu. I was surprised that even their restaurant week had an extensive menu with at least 4 options of appetizers, 5 for entrée and 2 for dessert. 

I got the lobster samosa, blacktiger shrimp paella and blueberry waffle toast. Hubby got the mushroom truffle croquette, lobster risotto and chocolate crème compote.

The bread came out with a trio olive oil sampler. I couldn’t really catch everything that the waitress was talking about, but I gathered that the olive oil on the rhs was from California, and the other two were Mediterranean.

I really liked to soft salty bread they had to soak up the olive oil. It was at once salty and peppery, and the texture was like a sponge, which was particularly useful to soak up the olive oil. The California one was mild, without much acidic taste. The one the middle was really strong and had a bitter aftertaste, which I really didn’t like. The lhs one was in between the mild tasting California one and the really strong one. It was also slightly bitter though.

Lobster samosa

To be honest I don’t really like to dip bread into olive oil, so I just ate the bread.

Mushroom truffle croquette

Blacktiger shrimp paella

Our appetizers came 15 minutes later. It was pretty small portions, but I figured it was more for the experience. I liked hubby’s mushroom truffle croquettes a lot better than my lobster samosa, because they were like cheesy spuds. The buttery inside melted as you bit through the crunchy crust. Whereas my samosa was kind of lacking texture. There was a lot of lobster meat though, but even that was kind of dry. The mango cucumber salsa that accompanied the samosa was way too salty to finish (and I rarely leave behind food).

Lobster Risotto
We must have waited 20 minutes between the appetizer and the entrée. I don’t know why but the waiters clear the dishes faster than you can say go ahead. Then there’s an awkward silence or a long time you have to fill up chatting (more like screaming) until the next dish. I think they probably should have thought the timing out a little better.

The entrées came a bit after I had settled down after cleaning up. My seafood paella was exquisite – well presented in a round oven casket on a square plate. It was the tangiest rice I’ve ever tasted, and loaded with real seafood – grilled baby octopus that was actually soft to chew, seared scallops with butter, giant marinated blacktiger shrimps. What more could you ask for? (Maybe a bigger portion).

Anyway, as I was waiting for my entrée, the waiter accidentally knocked my glass of water into my lap. Needless to say, I looked and felt like I had peed on myself. The waiter didn't really apologize all that much, which was pretty surprisingly. The wait staff though were pretty helpful in cleaning up.

I didn’t try Hubby’s lobster risotto though, because it was a particularly small portion to start with, so I didn’t have the heart to eat any of it. I did however share with him some of my savory dish.

Berry waffle

Finally, our desserts came. My fruit waffle with crème tasted just that – the blueberries were freshly in season and sweet, the waffle like the Belgian waffles that is stiffer than its US counterpart. Sweet, crunchy, it provided a lovely balance to the berries. I didn’t really enjoy the crème though because it tasted too buttery.

Chocolate creme compote

Hubby’s black and white dark chocolate vanilla crème compote tasted pretty good as well. It was white at first, but when you dig down, it turns into a lush dark chocolate. The first bite was pretty good – rich and not too sweet, but after the fourth bite you definitely experience a cloggy heart.

The manager came over to apologize for the spilt water. My policy is don’t cry over spilt water. Instead, ask for a discount. That’s exactly what I did. Though I expected a 30% discount, the 10% discount they gave us was worth the pain.

Only other downside (other than the water being spilt upon) was the noise level. Granted, for a restaurant this popular, it’s expected to be noisy. But still, all I really heard during my meal was the marital problems of the chatty ladies beside us.

All and all, a lovely meal in a touristy part of town (though most of its patrons are old-timers). Tab came out with $90 (including tips, and additional discount), which is pretty steep for the amount of food. But you really come here to bask in the atmosphere. 

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