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A Restaurant Worth the Drive: Fig & Olive on Melrose Place for a Taste of the Mediterranean

Posted By Karen Young On May 15, 2013 @ 10:54 pm In Bar/Pub/Taverns,Cuisine,Dessert,Dinner,Eat,Featured,Gourmet/Market Cafe,Happy Hour,Healthy,Lunch,Mediterranean,My Daily Find,Restaurants | No Comments

kynewpic110BY KAREN YOUNG

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The main dining room downstairs

One of my favorite go-to restaurants “over-the-hill” is Fig & Olive  in West Hollywood. I first enjoyed the restaurant in New York (where there are three locations), so when it opened here  nearly 2 1/2 years ago  I was eager to visit — and have returned countless  times since. Located on the corner of Melrose and La Cienega,  it is a gorgeous,  casual, yet chic, airy  8,000 restaurant — two stories with soaring ceilings, a tasting bar with communal table,  street patio,  olive oil “marketplace” and an indoor/outdoor space.  Apparently it impressed the Obama campaign as well since it was chosen as a key fundraising  venue during the last election.

 

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This room has an indoor/outdoor feel

Fig & Olive is a mediterranean restaurant founded by Laurent Halasz  that celebrates the flavors of the South of France, Italy and Spain. Executive Chef Pascal Lorange recently introduced the new spring and summer menu which continues the emphasis on fresh, seasonal cuisine highlighted by refined favors of subtle herbs and rich olive oils which are an integral part of every dish.  The menu is perfect for sharing with both small and large plates.  Make reservations to dine on a full meal or stop by the bar area for a drink and some small bites.

Crostini

Crostini

Each dining experience begins with a tasting selection of three olive oils and bread which is introduced by the server.  Unique to Fig & Olive is an appetizer selection of crostinis topped with combinations of such ingredients as figs, mushrooms, artichokes, goat cheese, carmelized onion, burrata, marcona almonds, proscuitto, salmon and ricotta. Order different combinations by three or six.   There is also a fine choice of crudo and carpaccio, including a zucchini dish with pine nuts. lemon and parmesan that looks simple, yet tastes elegant.   The Andalucia Gazpacho is memorable with a smooth consistency and prepared with tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, basil, pine nuts, olive oil, bread and sherry vinegar.

Octopus a la Gallega

Octopus a la Gallega

Other highlights are the Scallops with Eggplant Caviar prepared with a confit  of cherry tomato, black olive and basil. If you like octopus, then the Octopus a la Gallega is a must — it’s thinly sliced braised octopus topped with marinated bell pepper, fingerling potato, black olive, basil, arugula, pimenton lemon dressing made with Cobrancosa olive oil. My favorite salad year round is the Fig & Olive Salad with fig, apple, manchego, gorgonzola dolce, tomato, walnut, olive, romaine,mesclun, scallion, fig balsamic and Arbequina olive oil.  Also, new  for spring and summer is the Lobster Salad served with a generous portion of lobster with watercress, arugula, heirloom cherry tomato, cucumber, celery root, basil and a lemon oil emulsion.

Ravioli

Ravioli

If you are looking for more substantial dishes,  the choices include Zucchini and Goat Cheese Ravioli, Truffle Risotto and Fettuccine Shrimp Marscapone.  There’s also a delicious selection of fish, poultry and meat dishes, such as lamb, veal and filet mignon.  A specialty is the  Moroccan Free Range Chicken Tagine  served with fig, olive, apricot, carrot, zucchini, cipollini onion, tomato, toasted almond, couscous with cilantro and harissa.  On my last visit, I enjoyed the Yellowfin Seared Tuna that was accompanied with roasted cherry tomato with herbs de provence, smoked eggplant caviar, nicoise and basil olive oil.

Refreshing cocktails

Refreshing cocktails

The cocktail menu is perfect for as the weather warms up with refreshing mixology drinks featuring martinis, juleps, mojitos and other vodka and gin concoctions using fresh herbs and seasonal ingredients.  There’s also an extensive wine list by glass and bottle, as well as dessert wines.

Desert

Andrew’s Tasting and Sharing Dessert Plate

The dessert menu  was created by Executive Pastry Chef Andrew LeStourgeon whose specialties include a dessert crostini with cherry and mascarpone in  pistachio shortbread  with a touch of basil, warm  chocolate souffle, chocolate pot de creme and apple tarte. My personal favorite is  Andrew’s Tasting and Sharing Plate  that features the dessert “crostini,”chocolate pot de crème , crunchy praline  and mango sorbet.

Don’t miss the “marketplace” on the wall behind the entrance desk. It’s stocked with  30 different extra virgin olive oils , as well as infused oils,  aged vinegars, specialty olives and spreads.  There is also an online store with all the products, plus a gift basket selection.   They stock one of my favorite oils from Marquez de Grinon in Spain.

Shop the marketplace or online for specialty olive oils, vinegars, spreads and more.

Shop the marketplace or online for specialty olive oils, vinegars, spreads and more.

There’s a few special opportunities coming up this month.  Through June 1,  enjoy a daily three course prix fixe menu and a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne for $65 per person — or if you dine Monday through Thursday, choose  the  prix fixe menu that includes a crostini tasting  followed by three courses for $45 per person (no alcohol).   Also,  check out the special brunch on Memorial Day weekend (May 26-28) for $28 per person.

Fig & Olive, 8490 Melrose Place, West Hollywood,  310- 360 9100.

 

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