By Dane Feldman
Photos by Dane Feldman.
Fig & Olive has four New York locations (three in Manhattan and one in Westchester), as well as two in California (Melrose Place and Newport Beach), and one in Chicago. This review focuses specifically on the Meatpacking District location at 420 West 13th Street in Manhattan during NYC Restaurant Week.
Fig & Olive offers menus for lunch, dinner, brunch, and dessert, as well as a prix fixe menu. NYC Restaurant Week menus are all prix fixe for both lunch and dinner and I was delighted to find that Fig & Olive’s Restaurant Week prix fixe menu is fairly different from the regular prix fixe menu.
To start, I ordered the salmon tartar, which came topped with heirloom tomatoes and dill and was served with a side of baby arugula, avocado slices, and crostini bread. The arugula tasted as fresh as the arugula from my garden, the tomatoes were deliciously juicy, and the salmon was most definitely grade A.
For my main course, I ordered the filet mignon: grass fed beef marinated with rosemary, thyme, and garlic, served with a side of haricot vert topped with caramelized shallot, as well as a side of olive oil and chive mashed potatoes and an Arbequina Olive Oil Bearnaise dipping sauce for the meat. The steak was cooked perfectly and the haricot vert were among some of the best I’ve had.
For dessert, I ordered the dessert crostini: shortbread topped with mascarpone, strawberries, a balsamic glaze, and micro-basil. I was so full by the time this came out that I almost didn’t eat it at all. Once I had one taste, I practically licked the plate clean.
Fig & Olive offers a signature cocktails list as well as an extensive list of wines by the glass, wines by the bottle, and dessert wine. I intended to order the Piscine (sparkling wine served over ice with fresh strawberries), but was talked into ordering a pitcher of the Fig & Olive Sangria (white wine, Pisco, rhubarb juice, grenadine, and freshly muddled raspberries with sage and bitters).
I am so thankful I was talked into this because this was by far the best sangria I have ever tasted; it was light and summery with complex notes thanks to the sage and bitters, but also packed a decent punch thanks to the alcohol volume. Fig & Olive does not disappoint on drink strength.
In fact, many of Fig & Olive’s cocktails appear to be quite complex in flavor. I intend to return at some point this summer to try the El Matador (tequila, rum, fresh lime juice, cilantro syrup, and muddled jalapeno), the Sweet Red Pepper (tequila, Aperol, freshly muddled strawberries, lime juice, passion fruit syrup, sweet red pepper, and bitters), and the Fig & Walnut Julep (bourbon, St. Germain, port, muddled black mission figs, mint, and fresh citrus garnished with shaved walnuts). This is absolutely next level mixology and I have yet to find such a summery list anywhere else.
My waiter at Fig & Olive was friendly, but he wasn’t terribly attentive. It takes a lot to disappoint me and I don’t have terribly high expectations, but when a waiter spills a drink, then promises to replace it and doesn’t follow through without being asked 20 minutes later, I feel obligated to note it.
Fig & Olive is located in what is one of the most charming and upscale neighborhoods of Manhattan. 13th Street in the Meatpacking District is cobblestone and the restaurant capitalizes on the charm by putting a decent amount of outdoor seating on the sidewalk. The interior is also remarkably charming with a Mediterranean vibe, a high ceiling, and comfortable seating.
All in all, Fig & Olive has captured my heart. I will absolutely be returning, Restaurant Week or not.