FIGUE MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT
REFINED DINING IN COOL, CAUSAL DESERT SETTING
While the temperature soars out in the Coachella Valley and Palm Desert area, a refined and cool restaurant has emerged to delight taste buds. If you’re looking to getaway this summer and hit up a cold pool in Palm Springs, take a drive out to La Quinta where a fine yet casual dining experience can be found at Figue Mediterranean, which aims to showcase the vibrant and delicious cuisine from the countries of the Mediterranean region.
Offering a sleek and contemporary feel that draws on "mid-century modern" style made famous by nearby Palm Springs, walk into Figue and take in its eclectic vision and casual attitude that makes use of natural materials and furnishings that add a soft, rustic look one might associate with the Mediterranean region.
From restaurateur Lee Morcus, Figue is inspired by the farm-to-table approach and aptly creates fresh, delicious dishes ideal for sharing.
"We are absolutely committed to sourcing the freshest and highest quality ingredients, period," Morcus explains. “This is about quality, taste and nutrition and they go hand in hand with quality ingredients. Organic, all natural, wild, hormone and antibiotic free, farm to table, small specialty producers, sustainable, humanely raised, authentic imported products...and more are not marketing buzzwords at Figue. This is our way."
“Figue is an inspired blend of the casual and the sophisticated; the old and timeless classic melds with fresh, new and modern,” Executive Chef François de Mélogue. “The vision for the restaurant is to offer guests a relaxing yet visually stimulating experience that sets the stage for the colorful and intoxicating food found in the Mediterranean part of the world.”
A nice, big open space that manages to be both modern and elegant, there are areas for socializing and mingling, such as the lounges and sharing tables, as well as private spots for intimate conversation. The bar area contains a large sharing table and diners can sit at the open crudo bar / charcuterie kitchen and watch the food being made—a common Mediterranean experience.
The menu is organized in six sections: Salumi and Cured Meats, Small Dishes, Soup, Salads & Pasta, Big Plates, Sides, and Desserts. And everything is made from scratch.
During our recent visit, we started with cocktails, including the tremendous Old Figue Fashioned, a creative mix of Knob Creek Bourbon, Figcello, House Made Grenadine, and figs. Kudos to the bar team for the inventive use of Figcello, a delicious liqueur ala Lemoncello, which really adds a nice touch to their crafted drinks.
From the Small Plates section, we started with the Tomato and Compressed Melon, made with Piquillo Pepper Sorbet, balsamic glaze, and Parmesan cristp. Take one bite and be inundated by dazzling and amazing flavors.
Another delightful item is the Bacon Wrapped Figs, think perfect dessert or the world’s greatest appetizer. While the Charred Ahi Tuna is pleasant, it’s too small and not really worth it.
Another Small Plates treat are the tasty Diver Sea Scallops, Plancha Scallops, Zucchini ‘Spaghetti’, and Saffron Carrot Sauce. These are wonderful, thick scallops just perfect with a refreshing glass of white wine if you’re so inclined.
However, if you go with the fantastic Kibbe, Lebanese lamb and Bulgur wheat meatballs, served with cucumber salad, humus, then you may want to have a handy glass of red wine. Either way, you won’t go wrong with either delectable dish.
Time to jump to the Big Plates and that meant another cocktail and the refreshing Flying Fig was calling. A savory mix of Feigling Fig Vodka, St. Germain Liqueur, Figs, mint, and orange juice, this is another winning desert-inspired drink. Now if only they would incorporate dates (seeing this is the Coachella Valley) along with figs in both drinks and food, the taste bud sensory factor would be off the charts.
Our entrees included a dazzling Sea Bass, and the Provencale Beef Daube, slow cooked beef cheeks, orange and olive ragu, and Saffron risotto. This is when I made the move to red wine and loved the selection that the sommelier selected. A side of Moroccan Carrots—glazed Bautista Creek baby carrots, toasted cumin, orange butter—was nice but also a little bit of overkill since dessert was still coming.
To top off our delicious dessert dinner, we went with the Barcelona Liégeois, Iced Espresso, Chocolate sorbet, Marcona almonds, salted caramel, and Maman’s Warm Apple Tart—caramelized apples, caramel ice cream, and vanilla bean sauce. These two winning dishes set us on our way back out into a cool dessert summer night happy, relaxed and satiated.
Figue Mediterranean Restaurant is located at 47-474 Washington Street in La Quinta. Dinner hours Sunday thru Thursday 5pm to 10pm; Friday and Saturday 5pm to 11pm. Call 760-698-9040. Valet parking available.
By: Jose Martinez