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Jan 6, 2010 09:14 AM

Review of FIG Restaurant

Last month, a group of 7 of us (including my 2 yr old son) went to FIG for an early supper.

We sat in the front room along the wall so I didn't get a chance to see the rest of the restaurant. Nice enough decor with an enticing bar area.

I'm always leery of "hotel" restaurants; Fig is part of the Fairmont Santa Monica. Many are usually overpriced with mediocre food at best.

Fortunately, FIG was an exception and our dinner proved to be excellent.

To start, 4 of us split two orders of the moules frites. Presented in a medium sized cast iron pot with a side pocket for the buttered baguette, these were incredible! The Carlsbad mussels were plump, juicy and tender. I stuffed myself sopping up the delicious broth primarily composed of chablis and fennel/tarragon.

As for the frites? Easily some of the best fries I've had lately. FIG's frites are thin with a perfectly crisp exterior while the interior is soft. Just the right amount of salt.

For mains, most of the table ordered the steak frites; yes, more frites!! The steak, an 8 ounce "bavette" cut (I think bavette is a flap steak) arrived medium rare as ordered. Very flavorful and tender; my only complaint was it was the heavy handed use of salt.

For my entree, I ordered the roasted branzino. The entire fish (sans eyes) is served and stuffed with a Mediterranean melange of fennel, olives, capers, leeks and tomatoes. I tore it up including every morsel of the succulent cheeks!

For dessert, we ordered the meyer lemon curd and the memorable chocolate pot au creme.

I neglected to bring my own wine (argh!) so we had to order off of the pricey wine list. There's a pinot noir from Oregon (Williamette Valley) that is under $50 and is food friendly and quite good if you appreciate a more restrained style of pinot.

Service was attentive, the food excellent and priced quite fairly.

Overall, I was very impressed with FIG and would go gladly go back again.

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  1. The branzino sounds delicious. The preparation is similar to a very memorable Loup de Mer we had in Paris. I will definitely give Fig a try. Thanks for the report.

    1. I went to Fig tonight for dinner (it has been on my list for a while), and I have to say I was a little disappointed. Not that it was bad at all, it was good, but I think for the price point, I expected it to be a little better.

      We ordered a couple of their specialty cocktails, which included a huge rectangular chunk of ice occupying most of the middle of the thin cocktail glass. It was kind of a cool piece of ice, but it made it seem like it was "filler". Good drink though (Strawberry & Tarragon). We also got Eric's Stash cheese plate, which came with 4 different cheeses, which were pretty good, except one, which was quite pungent and vinegary. We also got an order of their chicken and prosciutto croquettes, which were pretty good, but could have used a bit more prosciutto. Next was the bacon wrapped bacon, which was basically 4 small squares of ham wrapped in bacon - can't go wrong with pork wrapped in pork. The broccoli de cecco (I believe was the name) was good but could have used a bit more chilli and maybe a tad less cooking. And for the main we split the pastaless lasagna, which was good, but a tad salty.

      So, all in all, it was a good meal, but I guess I just had higher expectations (Gjelina and Animal for instance are similarly priced, but better). Service was very good though.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mdpilam

        A large, single ice cube does not dilute a cocktail like typical, smaller ice cubes will do. It shows extreme care and attention to detail by the bartender/establishment.

        Too bad your experience did not impress you like mine did, but our menus were quite different.

        FIG offers an insane happy hour from 5pm-6pm; too bad I'm usually stuck in an office at that time.

        1. re: vinosnob

          I understand that one large ice cube won't dilute a drink as quickly as many smaller ones, but what I was saying is that it seemed like it took up a large portion of the thin cocktail glass, thus a smaller drink (volume). I would have preferred an ice cube half the size, but I understand at restaurants like this, it's not about portion, but presentation.

          I was thinking about going with the braised tongue, but my dining partner wasn't as curious!

          Anyone know if Ray is still doing the hot dogs? I remember hearing about them doing some interesting dogs, but didn't make it out...

      2. I had my birthday dinner at FIG this year and must say that the entire table of 14 left beyond satisfied both with the service and the food. FIG helped me have one of my most memorable birthdays to date.

        On the food note - the Braised Tongue with Tomatillo sauce is simply impeccable every time. They serve it in every way from tacos to tapas depending on when you go. It's a Ray Garcia staple. Their cheese and charcuterie selection is top notch as well.

        Glad you loved it, vinosnob!