Mediterranean food is one of my all-time favorites. The cuisine just screams "fresh" "light" and "healthy" to me, while simultaneously being so so flavorful. It also screams "FETA" and "BAKLAVA" and "FRENCH FRIES IN MY GYRO PLZ."
Recently, my family and I ate at Fig + Olive - a restaurant with various locations in NYC, Chicago and Washington D.C. A focus on simplicity is what I appreciate most about the Mediterranean cuisine. One of my favorite parts of a meal here is dipping some simple bread into different flavored olive oils.
The two-storied restaurant was intimate but not cramped and we dove right in to my favorite part of the menu...CROSTINI.
Is there anything more perfect than the concept of crostini? In Italian, it translates to LITTLE TOASTS. I'm sorry for the caps, I just get really excited about toast. The different flavor combinations you can create on top of a slice of toast are truly amazing - but your options are limited by the fact that you can only eat so many slices of toasts.
That's why tiny-toasts aka: crostini are so damn brilliant. Thanks, Italians!
Fig + Olive has an extensive crostini menu and my sister and I decided to go big or go home by ordering 6 of them.
1. Pea, Asparagus, Ricotta Lemon Thyme
This crostini was served slightly chilled and tasted so springy. It ended up being one of my favorites, which I didn't expect!
2. Manchego, Fig, Marcona Almond
I don't know if I've ever knowingly enjoyed Manchego cheese, but this was definitely the highlight of this particular crostini. The cheese was strong, but it didn't overpower the sweet fig. Marcona almonds are one of my all-time favorite nuts.
3. Prosciutto, Ricotta, Fig, Olive, Walnut
This one got mixed reviews - for me, it had a little too much going on and nothing really stood out.
4. Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onion, Chive
Wow-eeee. This was definitely the most powerfully tasting crostini and each of the three ingredients were discernible.
5. Burrata, Tomato, Pesto, Balsamic
This mayyyy have been my favorite! The basil was so poppy and fresh but I could have used a tad more balsamic glaze.
6. Mushroom, Artichoke, Truffle, Parmesan
I was expecting to hate this and was pleasantly surprised, and completely confused, when I liked it. Didn't just "like" it - I enjoyed it! I've never enjoyed truffle on anything to my knowledge. But maybe it was the fact that the Parmesan helped undercut the strong truffle taste? Or I liked it paired with mushrooms and artichoke? Either way - an enjoyable bite.
Marinated hand cut grass fed filet mignon, caper, shallot parsley, dijon olive oil emulsion crackers
Along with the Crostini as appetizers we ordered the Beef Tartare. Yep, raw meat. I was a little hesitant to try this and ended up not loving it due to the texture and size of the "meat chunks." Sorry, that probably made you gag a little. The taste was alright, and I enjoyed the capers, but I couldn't have gone without this dish.
My sister and I split an appetizer and an entree for dinner. First up was the
Seared scallop seasoned with Breeze spice, carrot-orange puree, roasted orange segment & honey heirloom carrot, charmoula
Full disclosure: I ordered this not knowing what Breeze spice or charmoula were.
As a recap from that post - chermoula/charmoula is a marinade used in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking. The main two ingredients are usually garlic and coriander with some varying mixture of herbs, oil, lemon juice, pickled lemons, cumin, salt, onion, chili peppers, black pepper and saffron.
I may never figure out which spice cause me to not love this dish as we neared the end of it - but the scallops as always blew me away with their sweetness. This dish definitely had an Indian vibe to it.
Ricotta & Ayala goat cheese, cherry heirloom tomato, baby spinach, pesto garlic, broccolini, zucchini spaghetti, grilled asparagus
Can we please take a moment to LOOK at the green-goodness of this dish? Looking back, I should have spritzed it with lemon to lighten it up a bit but overall, we were soo happy eating this pesto covered noodles. The addition of the zucchini spaghetti was FAB and I've never had creamier pesto in my life.
This dish was just bursting with flavor and most importantly, bursting with veggies!
Rosemary Lamb Chops
Grilled, smoked a la minute with a bouquet of Herbs de Provence, goat cheese & chive gnocchi, braised eggplant with honey & thyme, rosemary garlic olive oil
From the mouth of my mother, a lamb-lover, "This is the best lamb dish I've ever had."
There you have it folks. The overall flavors were her favorite, though we agreed that the lamb I had a La Sirena Ristorante a few days earlier might have been cooked slightly better.
Breaded veal escalopine, roasted tomato sauteed broccolini with thyme and garlic, pesto linguine and tomato mascarpone sauce
This was dad's pick. I was amazed at how thin the veal was and obsessed with the tomato mascarpone sauce (essentially a cheesy tomato sauce)
Which crostini sounds like your jam?
What's your favorite cuisine?
WHY DON'T I LIKE TRUFFLE?