FIG & OLIVE
A FEAST FOR ALL SEASONS & SENSES
The art of fine dining is often a means to escape and relax. It’s usually about more than just a meal, albeit a damn fine meal. At Fig & Olive, that feeling of getting away really comes to life thanks to its ambiance and even its music, which is a groovy soundtrack to bliss.
Fig & Olive is about passion, from its olive oils, flavors and cuisine from the Riviera and coastal regions of the South of France, Italy and Spain. They’re really proud of their virgin olive oils, which were selected to be paired with each dish and to be offered for tasting at the beginning of each meal.
“At Fig & Olive, I want to highlight our menu’s core ingredient of olive oil, which we use in place of butter in our dishes,” founder Laurent Halasz says. “From a sweet and delicate olive oil from the French Riviera that pairs well with a Steamed Lemon Sole Papillote to an assertive Spanish Picual or a Tuscan olive oil that holds its own with Seared Salmon with Fennel and Green Olives, and a green-fruit Provence olive oil that we serve with a Green Apple Sorbet. Our cuisine along with an elegant white, green and terra-cotta décor immerse our guests into the essence of the Mediterranean region in which I grew up.”
During our recent visit for lunch at the swanky Melrose Place location (other locations include Newport Beach, Chicago and New York City) we started with an array of olive oils to taste. I know, it’s a thing here but I could have done without it. But I like the presentation so I was fine with it. Our meal really started with a sampling of some of the Crostinis, including the Pata Negra Crostini with tomato, peach, parmesan, and Ricotta. Amazing!
Likewise, the Heirloom Carrot Crostini with heirloom carrot, chermoula, and carrot tapenade, as well as the Machego with fig and Marcona almond were delicious—the carrot more so than the Manchego. I think the Pata Negra was our hands down favorite.
Opting to share appetizers, we loved the Truffle Mushroom Croquette with Cremini mushroom, parmesan, béchamel, and truffle olive oil aioli. It’s rich and slightly decadent and divine. The Octopus A La Gallega—thinly sliced braised octopus, marinated bell pepper, heirloom potato, black olive, basil, arugula, pimento lemon dressing and Cobrancosa Olive Oil—was nice but it was more like Carpaccio than calamari, which may have just been my bad in expectation.
The Sea Scallops appetizer—seared scallops seasoned with l’orange spice, carrot olive oil tapenade, orange segment, micro greens, and citrus dressing—are also a lovely treat. These really make a delectable dish.
In the mood for a bigger entrée, I had to give the Maine Lobster Roll, an item only available on the lunch menu, a try but unfortunately it was a bit of a bust. It’s a “fancy” lobster roll that really misses the mark. There’s a great simplicity to a fine lobster roll, this one featured grilled lobster tails (nice), kumato tomato, shallot, apple, celery root, scallions, harissa, baby arugula, basil olive oil mayonnaise served on thyme brioche —all unnecessary. It was more like a burger with coleslaw instead of a lobster roll.
Luckily the Pumpkin Sage Ravioli with free range chicken, ricotta and chermoula, pumpkin olive oil emulsion, toasted pumpkin seeds, parmesan, and aged balsamic – Frantoio Olive Oil, saved the day. This is definitely a seasonal highlight. There’s just so much taste and richness to this dish.
Time spent at Fig & Olive was a welcome escape. I loved the setting, mood and cuisine. You can’t really ask for more. Well, you can, but let’s not be greedy.
Fig & Olive is located at 8490 Melrose Place in West Hollywood. (310) 360-9100.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography courtesy of Fig & Olive