Restaurant Roundup: Fig & Olive

A few weeks ago, I wrote this article detailing New York Restaurant Week and well, just haven't gotten around to detailing my Restaurant Week dinner. I had made reservations at two restaurants on our list: Fig & Olive and Artisinal. We only made it to one of the two...but we'll get to that story later. So Fig & Olive. Located in the Meatpacking District, Fig & Olive is a trendy abode with high ceilings, dark corners, and lots and lots of tables. So many tables, in fact, that it kind of felt like we were dining with the couple next to us. Though the atmosphere was very 'meatpacking district' (read: on a dark cobblestone street in a chic, bumpin', industrial-type space), it did leave a little to be desired in terms of acoustics (read: I had a hard time hearing Shaun yet I found out all about the overly loud man sitting next to us). But the food? Well the food was something else entirely, and there, I don't really have many complaints. And let me ask you upfront to please excuse the lack of photos. Remember that dark cornered space I mentioned? Yeah, not really condusive to taking good photos. So I'm sharing the best of the bunch, which really don't even do the goods justice.

Here's the menu:
We started with two appetizers from the Restaurant Week menu, Mushroom & Truffle Soup and the Duo of Salmon, as well as one not featured there, the crostini. Apparently Fig & Olive is famous for their crostini (and you know my feelings on that) yet it wasn't included on the RW menu. Enter my one and only gripe about Restaurant Week. Isn't the point to showcase your best menu? Needless to say, it was disappointing to have to pay an extra $9 for another appetizer, especially when we already had so much food on the way but we felt it necessary to get the full Fig & Olive experience and that includes trying the signature dish. And the result? it was totally worth it. With a laundry list of crostini toppings, we went with truffles & mushrooms, bell peppers & goat cheese, manchego cheese & fig chutney. And they were each truly delish - something I wouldn't pass up if you make your way over. And let's just say I don't even remember my mushroom soup as the crostini was really the shining star. I don't eat salmon, but Shaun raved about his appetizer, the duo of salmon (a mousse and tartar combo).

Onto the dinner portion of the night. Shaun had the roasted veal tenderloin with fig chutney while I filled up on the filet of beef with herb butter & fingerling potatoes. Both dishes were perfectly cooked, tender and seriously scrumptious. And let's just say that a giant pat of herb butter makes everything wonderful, especially a major piece of beef. Oh, and though I typically don't eat veal unless I'm in Europe, I did sample Shaun's dish and not only was the veal a serious stand out, but it helped ignite my love for fig chutney, as detailed in my January Favorites and Gorgonzola Fig Crostini. By this point in the meal, we were overly stuffed, but had to carry on with dessert (for research purposes, of course).

Enter the chocolate pot du creme (a rich custard with whipped cream, the latter being one of my all-time favorite foods - if you can call it a food) and the almond shortbread with vanilla mascarpone cheese, pistachios and marinated cherries. The clear winner? The shortbread. The pot du creme, though I've heard great things about it elsewhere, just didn't measure up while I'm still dreaming about that shortbread dessert. Not only was it easy on the eyes, it was decadent and sweet 'n savory to boot.

So that's the roundup. Though, for me, the appetizers aside from the crostini were less than memorable, the rest of the meal was totally worth trekking out in the freezing cold and stuffing ourselves until we had to take a cab home. Yep, that's the sign of a really good meal (scientifically speaking). Is it a pricey meal? You bet. But for RW? It's just the kind of place to visit. Oh I should mention Artisinal and our canceled reservation. Not only were we still stuffed a week after Fig & Olive, but after going back over the Artisinal menu, we realized that cheese was nowhere to be found. And Artisinal is all about the cheese. So we canceled, and added it to our list to visit at some point solely for the fondue. Sorry Artisinal, but you lost us by not offering your signature item.

So what do you think? Did you partake in any Restaurant Week activities? And by doing so, found a new favorite restaurant?