By Munia Islam
It was one of my dear friend’s birthdays and it was her first time celebrating it in the U.S., so we needed a perfect New York City restaurant to start the night. Since most of the guests were vegetarian (just two of us are meat-eaters), we had to pick a place that had enough vegetarian options to make this a special dinner for the birthday girl! It was Saturday night and a packed crowd filled Fifth Avenue, but we planned ahead and made reservation at Fig & Olive, which fit the bill.
The ambiance of the restaurant was very romantic, but the gorgeous bottles of olive oils lining the walls of the restaurant were just divine and truly lit up the place. For starters, we started with the Cheese Assortment, including fromage de chevre (goat), gorgonzola dolce (cow), Robiola (cow/sheep), manchego (sheep), rocchetta (cow, sheep, goat), with an addition treat of sweet additions of Fig & Olive Walnut Tapenade, as well as Marcona Almond. My favorites were definitely the goat cheese—you can never go wrong with goat cheese, I say—and the tapenade, which allowed for a sweet and savory combination, all just in the first appetizer.
For the meat-eaters, we got the Sesame Tuna Tartar next (chive and cucumber, $8). Sadly, there was barely enough for us, but the redeemer was definitely the Mediterranean Chicken Samosa (chicken, cilantro, Greek yogurt, bell pepper scallions with harissa Olive Oil, $13). We could have probably had ten more plates of this dish–it was treated like a pastry, but the filling was the unchanged samosa that we all love! Moreover, a pleasant surprise was the Northern Italian Mushroom & Truffle soup (cremini mushroom, garlic, onion, thyme served with mushroom crostini artichoke truffle tapenade parmesan, prepared in white truffle olive oil, $9). It was surprising because it’s not the creamy cream of mushroom soup most are used to; this is a hearty, you-can-actually-taste-the mushroom-and-real-flavors soup. It was the perfect soup, and if you want to commit a foodie-faux-pas, like I did, I took a bite of the samosa and had a spoon of the mushroom soup (hehe!). Great start with the appetizers, but…
For the main course, we ordered the Rosemary Lamb Chops (grilled lamb chops smoked a la minute with a bouquet of Herbs de Provence, goat cheese & chives gnocchi, and roasted honey eggplant, prepared with rosemary garlic olive oil, $39). It was disappointing! We thought the large portion of eggplant at the bottom was more lamb, but it was actually the eggplant, which was delicious, but was overshadowed by our sadness that there were mini pieces of lamb on our plate—and we LOVE our lamb!
Also, Shy beat me to their location in the Meatpacking District, so check her picks!
Fig & Olive
10 East 52nd Street
btw 5th and Madison
New York, NY 10022
Occasion: Friend’s birthday
(Out of three stars)
Would I go back?: Was a little disappointed with our main course, but for appetizers, this is a good place to go!