Light filters through the silvery leaves of an olive tree, warming the rosemary underneath and releasing its resinous scent. This pastoral scene may originate in the South of France, but you can also find it in Fig & Olive’s dining room, where chef Pascal Lorange’s dishes are served in the delicate shade of a real olive tree. Today’s Reserve selection invites you to taste the difference artisanal olive oil can make with a four-course dinner for two or four on Sunday–Friday. Dinner includes the following selections from the menu:
Dinner for two:
- Three crostini
- Two appetizers or salads
- Two entrees
- One dessert
- Two glasses of house wine or two signature cocktails<p>
Dinner for four:
- Six crostini
- Four appetizers or salads
- Four entrees
- Two desserts
- One select bottle of wine or four Fig & Olive signature cocktails<p>
Meals revolve around the kitchen’s library of over 30 kinds of extra-virgin olive oil. The olive oil in the recipes helps “emphasize each flavor,” says marketing director Ludovic Barras, and preserves the freshness of the locally sourced ingredients. For each entree, Executive Chef Lorange finds an appropriately fruity, peppery, or buttery olive oil to match. That means that the lamb chop’s infused oil is wholly different from that of the grilled branzino, an astringent Koroneiki variety that offsets a fig and aged-balsamic glaze.
Even the dessert menu draws on this Mediterranean nectar—it has to, since the kitchen uses no butter or other heavy fats. The sweetness of the crème-brûlée cheesecake, for instance, contrasts with the aromatic flavors of olive-oil crisp, thyme, and macerated fig. About the only place olive-oil doesn’t show up is the cocktail list, although there is a dirty martini with house-cured olives among fresh, fruity renditions of cosmopolitans, mojitos, and juleps.
The team at Fig & Olive works hard to evoke the Mediterranean, but it has a little assistance—in fact, as Barras notes, Southern California and the South of France share a light-filled, coastal climate that makes the restaurant’s concept a natural transplant. To help the ambiance take deeper root, decorators have added terra-cotta accents, thriving rosemary bushes, and wrought-iron olive branches to the dining room’s living centerpiece. Casual divan-style seating and a 50-foot communal table create a laid-back dinner atmosphere—says Barras, “there’s no pressure to feel like it’s going to be too formal.” The flexible atmosphere has attracted a host of high-profile events and celebrity sightings, including a fundraiser for President Obama, private dinners for Robert Downey, Jr., and Amanda Seyfried, and appearances in The Hangover 3 and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
FIG & OLIVE
Meals at FIG & OLIVE often begin with tastings, but not the kind you might expect. Chefs pair each dish with extra-virgin olive oil, the ingredient common to all FIG & OLIVE dishes. A koroneiki olive oil augments balsamic vinegar drizzled across grilled branzino; rosemary-garlic olive oil brings forth hints of smoke in the lamb chops. Even the crème brûlée cheesecake features an olive oil crisp with caramelized peaches.
FIG & OLIVE also sells its own line of olive oils, more than 30 varieties of myriad origins and tastes. Like the cuisine or an ambiguous "European" accent, the oils evoke France, Italy, and Spain, as does the Mediterranean décor. To help the ambiance take deeper root, decorators have added terra-cotta accents, thriving rosemary bushes, and wrought-iron olive branches around the dining room's living centerpiece, an olive tree.
Guests dine at pillow-stuffed divans or at a 50-foot communal table—where they might well recognize some of the company. The Melrose Place location has attracted a host of high-profile events and celebrity sightings, including a fundraiser for President Obama, private dinners for Robert Downey Jr. and Amanda Seyfried, and appearances in The Hangover 3 and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. FIG & OLIVE staff even returned to the South of France to take part in Les Etoiles de Mougins, an annual gastronomical summit that attracts chefs from all over the world.