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Fig & Olive – Mediterranean – Midtown East
June 9th, 2010 by plumpdumpling

Dr. Boyfriend and I were trying to decide where to book a dinner reservation last week and saw that Fig & Olive has nearly 700 reviews on OpenTable, which is more than everything else we saw by a long shot. After going there on Friday night, I understand why.

The place is just plain meant to appeal to a lot of people. The menu is interesting but not adventurous, the prices are high enough to keep out the riffraff but low enough that you wouldn’t feel bad about taking a date here even knowing she wasn’t going to put out, the lighting is low, the furniture is plush, the service is neutral, and no one’s pretentious.

We both ordered from the prix fixe menu, which is your standard 3 courses for $36. Even after I added a $6 supplement for my filet mignon, I thought it was a great deal. Here’s what we feasted upon:

Fig & Olive
chicken samosa with cilantro, Greek yogurt, bell pepper, scallion, cumin, and harissa oil

Wikipedia tells me that phyllo dough is sometimes used for samosas in the West, so I’m refrain from calling this dish blasphemous, and even if it was too soft to be the kind of samosa I’m familiar with, it was delicious, and the only thing wrong with it was that there was only one. The harissa oil and yogurt combo was spicy-good that I had to use our leftover bread from the complimentary olive oils they served us to sop it up.

Fig & Olive
steak tartar of ground filet mignon and NY steak, shallot, caper, parsley, mayonnaise, olive oil toast

My boyfriend’s favorite part of this was the big caper berry on top, which I had never tasted before. I don’t care that much about capers, but caper berries are delightfully pickley.

Fig & Olive
grilled beef tenderloin, Herbs de Provence olive oil butter, fingerling potatoes, snow peas, onions

We were scheduled to go to a steak house the next night, but after I finished this filet, I said, “I’m not sure I can eat steak without butter now.” The little pat of herbed cow juice melted all over my meat, soaking into it and leaving the herbs behind on the seared exterior. The potatoes and peas were an afterthought, but it didn’t matter. Steak snobs would be aghast at the fact that the server didn’t ask how I wanted it cooked, but it came out perfectly medium, and I sort of like a chef who refuses to cook food anything but the right way.

Fig & Olive
grilled shrimp and scallop paella in pimentón (Spanish paprika), saffron rice, eggplant tapenade, bell pepper, tomato, garlic

My boyfriend didn’t much care for this paella, to be honest. It was definitely delicious–the paprika-sodden rice alone was mouthwatering–but he expects a paella to be full of all sorts of treasures for the unearthing. This was rice with a few vegetables and sea meats sprinkled on top. The flavors were there, but the portion and presentation were off.

Fig & Olive
berries pot de crème

This was a very creamy, slightly-vanilla custard with a blanket of strawberries and blueberries cooked down to their sweetest point. A chunk of very crusty cake accompanied it and made for a nice texture addition.

Fig & Olive
dessert crostini with blueberries mascarpone on shortbread with microbasil

Dr. Boyfriend’s dessert looked a little too simple to me, frankly, and I was secretly glad that I’d been the one to get the pot de crème at first. But simple as it was, it was special. The creamy cheese with the crumbly bread, the syrupy-sweet berries with the savory basil? YUM.

Rating One StarOne StarOne StarOne-Half StarZero Stars

Overall, I wouldn’t say Fig & Olive is a place I’d send my pickiest foodie friends, but it’s great for casual dates, meeting with friends (as nearly everyone there seemed to be doing), and having steak covered in butter. Not a place you’d go if you only had a weekend in NYC but a place you’d go to take a break from the formality of more-expensive restaurants.

Fig & Olive
10 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022 (map)

and

420 West 13th Street
New York, NY 10014 (map)

and

808 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10021 (map)


5 Responses  
  • Kim writes:
    June 9th, 201012:47 pmat

    I wouldn’t have liked that paella either, but that’s because I secretly don’t like paella as much or as often as I want to and thus have been disappointed by variations of it pretty often, even in Spain. Basically, though, the thing is … I don’t like rice. Which is SO WEIRD BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T LIKE SOMETHING LIKE RICE? I refused to admit, to myself, that I didn’t like rice until like April. But it’s true. I don’t. So anyway, can I date your boyfriend yet?

    A steak covered in butter, on the other hand, sounds like an orgasm on a plate. Figuratively, I mean, but I’d appreciate it if you could confirm or deny that it was also literally.

  • Tessa writes:
    June 9th, 20103:33 pmat

    Steak covered in butter is super, super common in the UK. Clearly, you should visit me here in the next 10 days or whatever, before I leave.

    “Microbasil” made me smile.

  • Cristy writes:
    June 9th, 20105:45 pmat

    I’m SOOO not a foodie in any way AT ALL, but sometimes I have to comment on your blog that the descriptions made me drool. The chicken dish looks like it’d melt in your mouth, and the 2nd dessert looks and sounds divine. Yum. :)

  • Tracey writes:
    June 12th, 20102:32 pmat

    I was about to call you out for being a dirty classist for saying the prices “keep out the riffraff”, but then I saw how low the price actually was.

  • Bachelor Girl writes:
    June 14th, 20104:23 pmat

    FANTASTIC photos. I’ve never come so close to licking my computer screen before.


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