It was time for the three high school buddies to reunite around dinner again last Thursday with the only requirements being some place relatively quiet with good food and possible vegetarian options. A friend recently raved about her cheese and wine experience at Fig during happy hour so the two of us on the West Side lucked out with the selection of Fig at the Fairmont. A great irony here is that we drove across country in our senior year in 1972 stopping in New Orleans for a week to attend the numismatic convention (coin collecting for the uninitiated), where the most adventurous thing we would dare order was a hamburger steak with grilled onions at the Sheraton. Now, we were deciding on which cheese course to start with landing on the “Challenging” for $18 which featured a hearty Epoisses, a pungent Azeitao, a creamy Cana de Oveja from Spain, and a sharp blue veined Buffalo’s milk accompanied by a small piece of sweet moist date bread and a berry gelee. Happy Hour just got redefined and I would go back to sit at the bar and watch Eric the fromager in action. Charcuterie is another specialty but we passed on this occasion.
Mini baguettes are whimsically served warm in their own brown paper bag sleeve with an unusual and intense pesto like butter that we quickly devoured. One friend went next with a beautiful tomato soup with mascarpone for $9 which was followed by our three entrees: a tender Kurobuta pork tenderloin for $28, a richly textured short rib meatloaf for $21 and an off the chart spicy vegetable curry for $18 that had my friend sweating. Thank God we were almost pool side. The young chef Ray Garcia is making a mark for his use of local fresh organic product and his is artfully done cooking with vibrant flavors.
Desserts were fun and tasty with a play on the traditional banana split with homemade rum raisin ice cream for $7, corn fritters for $8 and a traditional chocolate pot au crème for $9. Service could not have been better with our water glasses continually filled well after the check had been paid. A warm and beautifully appointed room opens nicely to the lush pool area.
Fig at the Miramar Fairmont
101 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica 90401
Dinner on a saturday night, had a reservation and were seated immediately. The place has a nice vibe, sort of east coast meets west coast. Our main waiter was attentive, pleasant, and responsive. Started with 2 of their specialty cocktails, one with blueberries and tequila and another with grapefruit, aperol and gin...both were excellent, very flavorful without being too sweet. Bread and arugula butter were brought out quickly, we ordered the fois gras and chicken liver parfait with grilled bread to have with our drinks. it came in a small glass jar and was terrific, great texture and flavor. For our mains it was the lobster thermidor stuffed with crab meat which we both thought had too much tarragon, and the cog au vin which was very rich and satisfying, but the sauce was a little too reduced. The pot au creme we shared for dessert was outstanding. I think this would be someplace I would return to for drinks and appetizers or charcuterie but not necessarily for the entrees (although the steak frites at the next table looked very enticing).