Fig & Olive has six locations (3 in Manhattan alone). The restaurant’s menu is inspired by cuisine from the Riviera and coastal regions of the South of France, Italy and Spain. When you first enter the 5th Avenue location you notice beautifully packaged olive oils available for purchase next to a long, white marble bar that seemed more like something out of Southern California than NYC. The upstairs dining room has large, beautiful potted olive trees and rosemary plants. The name and first impression gave everyone high hopes for dinner and while I enjoyed my meal, I was the only one to leave satisfied, which makes me wonder about the consistency of the kitchen.
Our server was very attentive and brought over a sampling of olive oils and thinly sliced focaccia bread after we had ordered a bottle of some delicious full bodied, Italian red wine. I started with the Fig & Olive Salad for $19 that was plated with romaine lettuce figs, sliced apples, manchego, sweet gorgonzola, tomato, walnuts and dressed with a lip smacking fig balsamic and olive oil (of course). I thought the salad was one of the best I’ve had in recent memory and could eat this every night.
A second bottle of the same wine was ordered and arrived as our main dishes were served. I had opted for the Fig & Olive Chicken Tajine for $27 which included side plates that contained couscous with cilantro, toasted almond and harissa. The chicken and the sauce accompanying the main dish was incredibly flavorful and enhanced by the wine selection (much thanks to my colleague who selected it).
I think the reason I may have enjoyed my meal so much more than my colleagues was the fact that I intentionally ordered items the waiter recommended. One of my colleagues thought the meat she ordered lacked flavor; another who had pasta described it as ‘goopy’ and thought it overcooked. My only disappointment with the dinner was the fact that my colleagues didn’t feel the same as I did about my meal.