Last night we had the DineLA menu at Fig & Olive and were very impressed. Too many DineLA venues don't seem to get it that DineLA should be an opportunity for them to showcase what they can do, so as to develop new customers. A lot of them in our experience - Spago, are you listening? - seem to simply toss out some of their lesser, cheaper dishes with an obvious concern about maintaining their margins as opposed to marketing their abilities.
Fig & Olive did an excellent job and have made customers out of us. It's not the sort of place we can afford to go to regularly, but we will now be going there from time to time for special occasions and when we're feeling flush. (We won't be bothering to go back to Spago.)
Here's what we had:
They brought out a very nice tasting of three different olive oils - California, Tunisia and Spanish - with excellent rosemary focaccia to dip into them. (We both liked the Spanish best, the Tunisian the least.) We also expressed an interest in their meyer lemon olive oil and they brought us a tasting of it as well. (Having a meyer lemon tree of our own and good olive oil on hand, we decided against buying any.)
From the DineLA menu we ordered:
NORTHERN ITALIAN MUSHROOM & TRUFFLE, Cremini mushroom soup, garlic, onion, thyme, White Truffle Olive Oil - which was spectacular. That great, earthy mushroom and truffle flavor. It was like sipping the best tasting soil you can possibly imagine - I mean that in a good way.
MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN SAMOSA, Chicken, cilantro, Greek yogurt, bell peppers, scallion, Harissa Olive Oil - they were good, though not anything extra special. The filo pastry was flaky and crispy, the filling didn't have much character and the sauce was too sparse to really taste.
ROSEMARY LAMB CHOPS (+$5), Grilled lamb chops smoked a la minute with a bouquet of Herbs de Provence, goat cheese & chive gnocchi, roasted honey eggplant - Rosemary Garlic Olive Oil - Holy shit, these were the lamb chops of the gods. Smoky, perfectly cooked, just plain remarkable - one of the 3 best lamb dishes I've ever had (the others being a tandoori leg of lamb in a restaurant in Jakarta and bbq lamb at the yearly horse auction in Lexington, KY.) They fell into the category of whoever even knew that lamb could possibly be this good.
SALMON A LA ANDALUCIA, Seared organic salmon, zucchini, fennel, tomato, chickpeas, verdial olive, fresh oregano, garlic, lemon - Picual Olive Oil - excellent, perfectly cooked salmon and the vegetables were the perfect accompaniment. One of the best salmon dishes I've had in a restaurant.
CHOCOLATE POT DE CRÈME, Crunchy Praline Financiers & Vanilla Cream - excellent, strong, slightly bittersweet, went perfectly with the praline.
We each had an espresso that was one of the better espressos I've had in town. She had a glass of pinot noir that we hadn't heard of before - and I forget the name of now - that was perfect with the lamb. I had a Spanish Verdejo that went perfectly with the salmon.
In all, a good night for us and a good night for Fig & Olive who have, through DineLA, gained some new customers.