As the seasons change, so do menus at restaurants offering menus dictated by what’s available right now. At Fig & Olive, it is no different. On a recent trip there, we try some new menu items perfect for the warmer weather.
Start with some cocktails such as The Fig & Olive ($12), an organic cucumber vodka with blood orange olive oil, simple syrup, lime juice, blood orange puree, and a celery stick. Or, an aromatic concoction like Rossellini ($12) with passion fruit vodka, freshly squeezed blood orange juice, fresh lime juice, served straight up to get the gears going.
Your server will bring you some freshly baked foccacia with an array of olive oils to taste. The olive oils are Fig & Olive’s private reserve and you’ll see bottles of it lining the wall when you dine in the room facing the kitchen.
My friends and I always start with some Crostini (3 for $12/6 for $21) when we come here, and it is no different on this occasion. For the new season, there is pata negra with crushed tomato and smoked salt; crab, heirloom tomato and zucchini puree; and lastly, pea, asparagus, ricotta lemon thyme. My favorites are the latter two.
We try a lot of dishes, but I will only feature the ones I love the most, beginning with Crab & Heirloom Tomato ($14). Jumbo lump crab is seasoned with garlic and cilantro among other things. Shallot harissa is fresh and delicious and the drizzle of Cobrancosa olive oil is decadent yet still remains light.
Burrata & Heirloom Tomato Caprese ($15) is a generous portion with creamy burrata, thick and juicy slices of heirloom tomato, fig and basil. A rich 18 year balsamic vinegar adds depth and dimension to the dish. Here, a basil green olive oil is used as a drizzle.
Moving on to the main course, Riviera Salmon ($26) is a pleasant surprise. I don’t order salmon when eating out, but when I try the perfectly seared salmon, it breaks away with ease. The braised fennel is a different accoutrement, but it is a good pick, never overpowering the star of the dish. I am not sure about the pea purée as it feels slightly displaced on the plate.
My favorite of the night is Rosemary Lamb Chops ($39). Plump and juicy chops are grilled, and then brought to the table under a dome — smoked à la minute with a bouquet of Herbs de Provence. A round of grilled polenta, roasted bell pepper and jalapeno with braised eggplant accompany.
We end the evening with desserts, but it is Panna Cotta a L’Orange ($10) that steals my heart. The panna cotta is of perfect texture, with a layer of strawberry and basil jam. The cookie crumble lends an element of crunch, and when eaten with the orange sorbet, adds an additional burst of orange in my mouth.
There is a lot on the menu, but these are my favorites from the new offerings.
Fig & Olive
151 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660