Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fancy Fixings

There's been a place I was dying to try but it was a little out of my price range. Considering I haven't started my career yet, I can't afford to splurge on delicious meals as much as I would like. I usually opt for more affordable delicacies haha. But when Restaurant Week rolled around in NYC I jumped on my chance to indulge. Restaurant Week is Bi-Annual in NYC, a week in the winter and in the summer. For the two weeks throughout the year trendy restaurants offer a pre-fixe menu for lunch and dinner at discounted prices allowing bargain hunter foodies (like myself) a chance to try new food. They are always adding restaurants to the list of offerings as well as keeping some classics around allowing you to revisit them. If I had the chance to go to more, I would've. I kind of didn't realize it was restaurant week until it was half way over and I new it was my chance to finally try Fig & Olive. 

Fig & Olive in NYC has three locations; Meatpacking, Fifth Avenue, and on Lexington. They also have locations in Westchested, California, Chicago and D.C.. Fig & Olive combines food from Italy, France and Spain, mostly coastal and Riveria cuisine. Their core ingredient is olive oil and they specialize in pairing each olive oil with the appropriate dish. They have over 30 different types (which I didn't even know existed, honestly hah). I made a reservation and grabbed my two best friends and we headed there. 

The design of the restaurant was truly elegant. Everything was very modern and bright, and the decor matched the theme of the establishment; lots of olive plants and figs encased in glass. They had chandeliers and a jeweled sculpture that was beautiful. You had the option of ordering off the regular menu and the pre-fixe. I chose the pre-fixe so that I could have more options, my friend millicia did as well. We started off with an olive oil tasting of  three different types and some bread for dipping. I started with the Truffle Mushroom Croquette.  
Cremini mushrooms, Parmesan, bechamel sauce, and a truffle olive oil aioli. These were truly to die for. So delicious, I didn't want them to end. It was probably my favorite thing from the whole experience and I would go back just for them. Sort of like fried mac and cheese balls but lighter and tastier. Nothing like anything I've had, and thinking of it makes me want more.

My friend Millicia had the Zucchini Carpaccio. It's fresh, raw zucchini chilled and placed with lemon, pine nut, parmesan, and topped with picholine olive oil. 
It was a very refreshing and light dish. I'm a big zucchini lover so I was a fan. But I definitely wouldn't choose it over the crimini mushroom truffles. 

For the main course, I went with the Paella Del Mar. It featured black tiger shrimp, calamari, mussels, saffron rice, green peas, red bell peppers, artichokes, saffron aioli, pimenton, oregano and cooked with hojiblanca olive oil. 
Truthfully, I thought the portion would've been slightly larger and the calamari was a little over cooked for my liking (I'm Italian, I know properly cooked calamari ;)). Other than that, the dish was very tasty. Not the best paella I've ever had but it was pretty good. The saffron rice and hojiblanco Olive oil really paired well together and gave it a great taste. I also liked that it was served in a mini wok. I would probably try it again. 

Millicia got the Grilled Thyme Chicken Paillard. Grilled chicken breast marinated with lemon and thyme, served with arugula, spinach, Brussels sprouts, tomatos, almonds, bell peppers, lemon, and finished with arbequina Olive oil. 
This was a hearty portion, but described as ordinary. I didn't try it personally but my friend said it was good but not something she would come back for. It did really seem like something you could get anywhere. Nothing else seemed inviting to her on the prix-fixe menu so she went with something that seemed  fimilar. 

My friend Jen didn't order off the prix-fixe menu and ended up getting the Filet Mingon Panini. Sliced filet Mingon, tomato, marinated portobellos, fontina cheese, caramelized onions, and a Rosemary mayo. This was served with a side of mixed greens dressed with a fig balsamic dressing, and Mediterranean fries.
Jen ate this like a champ, she absolutely loved it. And considering she has the stomach capacity of a small child, me and Millicia split the other half haha. It was delicious, seasoned great and very filling. All of the ingredients paired well with one another and the Rosemary mayo was refreshing and delightful. The fries were cooked and seasoned perfectly and were very very tasty. All in all it was a delicious dish. 

And what would any meal be without dessert? Nothing, duh. The prix-fixe menu offered two desserts, so Millicia and I each got one. 
 Dessert #1 was a Dessert Crostini featuring strawberries, mascarpone, and balsamic shortbread with micro basil.  All I can say is, disappointing. The crostini lacked flavor and by the time we got the dessert the mascarpone had hardened and just wasn't very inviting.

Dessert #2 Panna Cotta à L'orange featuring orange panna cotta with cookie crumble strawberry & basil jam and orange sorbet on the side. Definitely the better dessert option, I enjoyed most of it. The sorbet was melted which was a little disappointing but overall the Panna cotta was pretty good and I enjoyed the overall taste. It wasn't overpowers by orange which made me like it even more. 

So overall, I would say Fig & Olive may be a little too fine of dinning for the taste of my close friends and I haha. I would probably go back and order off the regular menu and give the place a second chance. It's a truly beautiful establishment and captures the essence of the Mediterranean. The emphases on Olive oil is such a cool and different concept. I give a lot of credit for taking something so simple, making it complex, and pairing it with foods that only bring out each eccentric individual quality. 

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