Over the MLK weekend, the three of us at Oh My Food Coma! had a reunion of sorts, just in time for Dine LA’s Restaurant Week. For a three course prix fixe lunch set at $25, we feasted at Fig & Olive on Melrose Place. Fig & Olive’s menu is inspired by Southern French, Italian and Spanish cuisines, with a serious emphasis on the extra virgin olive oils used in all of its dishes.
Josie’s take: Fig + Olive is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve ever been in. The beauty is in its simplicity, with its wide open spaces, simple decor of framed figs and dried flowers, and walls lined with bottles of wine and olive oil. We were seated towards the back of the restaurant in the sun room, tucked in a corner. The atmosphere was so nice, and the rush hour hadn’t made its way in yet. For our meal, I ordered Salmon crudo, Paella del mar, and Chocolate pot de crème for dessert.
Overall, it was good food in a beautiful restaurant with great ambiance. However, I don’t think I would eat here again, unless it was for Dine LA, as normal dish prices are not for the feint of heart.
Nicole’s take: Restaurant weeks are highlights of the year for me (and my stomach); they are such a great way to get introduced to restaurants and venture out to try different foods. DineLA was the first I had ever partaken in back in college, and the best, in my opinion. I was thrilled to be able to revisit DineLA with my fellow OMFC staff members. After doing research and comparing menus, we settled on Fig & Olive. Upon arrival, the friendly staff seated us in the back sun room that let in plenty of natural light, enhancing the Tuscany-style accents of the clean and modern restaurant. I was very happy I chose one of the first reservation times of the day; the restaurant was almost empty and we were able to enjoy the quiet and beautiful atmosphere the restaurant provided.
I had much higher expectations for Fig & Olive, after hearing about it for so long. The food did not excite me or my tastebuds to the point of returning, but it was a great experience nonetheless. The relaxing ambiance of the restaurant paired with lighthearted and friendly staff are a refreshing breath from the stresses of Los Angeles. And of course, reuniting with friends over a meal is always a pleasure.
Justin’s take: With open, airy, high-vaulted spaces, walls decked with translucent olive oil jars and wine bottles, Fig & Olive has that classic California feel, just precisely casual enough to dine without a tie on. Otherwise, it’s what you’d expect of a high-end restaurant chain that started out in New York City. The Dine LA deal was an excellent deal. $25 for a 3 course lunch here?! I mean, c’mon. The comparatively large portion sizes also surprised me, as I came out actually feeling full. My frugal leanings aside, I really did enjoy this meal, much more than other Dine LA experiences I’ve had. Plus the lighting was impeccable, hence the photos below.
Josie’s take: Our server brought us a plate of rosemary bread to pair with three different types of olive oils, each with its own subtle flavors– although admittedly at times, we couldn’t tell the difference between the 3 and somewhat suspected that maybe they really were all the same!
Justin’s take: Baked goods are my thing, and I have to say, Fig & Olive’s rosemary fougasse bread really hit the spot. They have this subtle chartreuse yellow hue (from the olive oil) that just scream “eat me.” They’re chewy and conveniently cut into bite-sized pieces that can be dipped into the restaurant’s signature olive oils. The waiter explained where each olive oil was sourced, but I honestly couldn’t distinguish them. The waiter, who appeared to be a mind reader (or more logically, noticed how quickly we were devouring the bread), kindly brought us 2 more plates, without even being asked.
Truffle mushroom croquette
Josie’s take: However, I absolutely loved the dish that Justin ordered for his appetizer so much more. The truffle mushroom croquette had a nice contrast of crunchiness on the outside and a level of creaminess on the inside. It almost had this soft tofu consistency in the inside. The flavor of the truffle oil really elevated the dish, I’ll be dreaming of this dish for a while.
Justin’s take: I was initially torn between the lobster bisque and the truffle mushroom croquette, but ultimately happy with my choice. Almost like beancurd in consistency, the croquettes were delicately breaded and fried.The aioli was really tasty too: savory and buttery.
Josie’s take: The Salmon Crudo was nothing more than slices of salmon sashimi, cut with pieces of citrus fruits and accents of dill. I can’t complain, since sashimi is one of my favorite things to eat. The fish was fresh and it had a wonderful texture.
Nicole’s take: I can never complain when there is buttery fresh sashimi in front of me. I rarely eat it with anything but this dish was paired so well with the olive oil and citrus flavors. The oil was not heavy at all since the bright flavors cut the fat. A light and refreshing beginning course.
Justin’s take: Quite honestly, I didn’t find the salmon crudo appealing, perhaps because I’m not accustomed to eating raw slices of fish with olive oil, lest with pieces of grapefruit and orange sprinkled on top. The salmon’s attractive pink glow did attest to its freshness.
Paella del mar
Josie’s take: The Paella del Mar was something that I had been anticipating for a while. The last time I had eaten paella was in Barcelona, Spain, years ago. In comparison, Fig+Olive was able to achieve the right consistency in the rice. That wonderful creaminess brought me back to Barcelona, however the dish itself was somewhat lacking. I think I craved fresher seafood in the dish. I supposed nothing beats eating paella with seafood that was freshly caught that morning.
Nicole’s take: I was expecting more from this dish, especially since it boasted so many different spices and textures. However, upon biting into it, it all seemed to blend together and become unexciting, even with the fresh lime juiced squeezed on top. The seafood was fresh and cooked perfectly, but its individual flavors were masked in the rice. I was not able to finish this dish as it became too heavy for me towards the last half.
Justin’s take: It takes a paella person to like paella. That’s the epiphany I had after the meal. The paella’s seafood (black tiger shrimp, squid and mussels) was lavished with a number of ingredients, including spices like saffron and Hojiblanca olive oil, and was, in fact, quite delicious. But I couldn’t get over how saturated the rice grains were, perhaps from the olive oil. Presentation was spot on, though. And the copious amounts of squid were superbly cooked–tender and silky, as if the chef knew exactly when to halt the cooking process.
Grilled Thyme Chicken Paillard
Nicole’s take: My boyfriend ordered the Grilled Thyme Chicken Paillard with a lemon and arugula salad. I actually enjoyed his dish more. The chicken was very juicy and tender with that slightly charred taste that I adore. The salad it came with boasted bright and bold flavors from the lemon and thyme dressing and different textures from the picked red onions, almonds, capers, and bell peppers played well together for an interesting salad.
Nicole’s take: My boyfriend ordered the dessert “Crostini” with mascarpone spread on a pistachio shortbread and topped with amarena cherries. Again, I enjoyed his dessert more than my own, due to the different textures and flavors it provided. The ratio of creamy mascarpone to shortbread was perfect and was not too buttery as the cherries cut through the fat.
Chocolate pot de crème
Josie’s take: Last but not least, the chocolate pot de crème arrived. I didn’t know what to think when I first saw it, as the dish itself was rather plain. I’m a big dessert person, and I love beautiful desserts, so I admit it wasn’t the most appetizing when I was looking at its simple presentation. However, one bite was enough to change my attitude about the dessert. The rich chocolate mousse/cream was hiding beneath the crème. It was thick, almost a nutella consistency and extremely rich. Each bite was more chocolatey than the last. On the side, a small nugget of chocolate with pralines, topped with orange zest was served. I cannot stress enough how well orange zest pairs with chocolate. I normally can’t eat a lot of rich foods easily, but I couldn’t let the chocolate pot de crème go to waste. So I ate the whole thing, and hated myself for it afterwards. I really wished that the chocolate pot de crème was served with something else to cut the richness. I think I’ve hit my limit of chocolate for the week.
Nicole’s take: This chocolate pot de crème was presented simply in a little pot with vanilla cream covering the entire surface, and two praline cookies on the side. I did not know what I was expecting when I dug my spoon into the pot. I dug out a spoonful of chocolate cream. The rich texture of the cream was luxurious and velvety, and the taste was a blend of dark chocolate and semi-sweet, not too strong, not too sweet. I could not finish this course either, as it just became too much chocolate for me. I needed something to cut the richness; nuts or a crunchy element in the dessert. I could only finish a quarter of my dessert and am actually quite shocked Josie and Justin were able to finish theirs. The praline cookies were delicious, the class blend of citrus and chocolate always pair well together. These were the best part of the dessert in my opinion.
Justin’s take: It’s an interesting presentation choice for Fig & Olive to make, to present its chocolate pot de crème, in a milky white porcelain cup (you’d assume that a translucent one would be better eye candy.) But doing so leaves much to mystery, in a good way (removing you from any preconceptions of what lies underneath the cream). The chocolate custard had this intense, velvety consistency that contrasted well with the vanilla cream, which was whipped into a light, frothy consistency. And those 2 praline financiers really floored my taste buds in terms of texture and flavor: that’s how Kit Kats would taste in a perfect world. 🙂
Fig & Olive
8490 Melrose Pl
West Hollywood, CA 90069