By: Maren Swanson • June 24th, 2014
I was beyond excited to get invited to the Summer tasting menu unveiling for Fig and Olive on Melrose the other day. I, along with some of Tastemade's "gastronoms" gathered at the West Hollywood hot spot last week to sample the new seasonal picks and create some "appisodes" (mini video diaries) of our dining experiences. The dishes were mostly solid, but I was reminded of one of Fig and Olive's culinary strengths: presentation.
Soon after we arrived, corporate chef Simon Sunwoo (usually at the Fig and Olive Newport Beach location), greeted us and begun explaining the dishes we were about to try. Seasonal ingredients would be the stars, of course. And then we dug in. I did miss a couple of the crostini options. Note to self: be more politely aggressive next time. We had the option of choosing between courses, however my foodie friend, The Food Pervert, and I decided to order different dishes and share to ensure maximum tasting exposure. Here's what we tried:
3 crostini options were served: 1) crab, heirloom, tomato, avocado and apple aoili 2) octopus, cherry tomato, heirloom carrot puree (missed this one) and 3) burrata, tomatoes, herbs and balsamic. The flavors were fresh, lively and harmonious. The balsamic vinegar was 20 years old and so good that we requested an additional side of it.
Melone & Burrata: burrata, canteloupe, kumato tomato, radicchio, micro-arugula, basil olive oil emulsion (Arbosana Olive Oil)
Crab & Heirloom Tomato: jumbo lump crab, heirloom cherry tomato, garlic, cilantro, shallot, harissa, avocado basil tapenade (Picholine Olive Oil)
Sea Scallops: seared scallops seasoned with orange spice, carrot olive oil tapenade, orange segment, citrus dressing (Picual Olive Oil)
First of all, my neighbor's melone and burrata was gorgeous. The architecture of the dish was creative, colorful and photo ready. Underneath the big heap of burrata and nestled in the scooped out center of the cantaloupe rested wedges of kumato tomatoes. The Arbosana olive oil was poured around the circumference of the plate and done table side. I will definitely try and make something similar to that dish for my own summer at-home menu.My dish, the sea scallops were cooked to perfection. 3 medium sized scallops were arranged in a triangle on my plate with a citrus dressing and baby purple carrots. I didn't need to use a knife and I didn't let one scallop go to waste (unless you count the one I put on The Food Pervert's plate). The plate's palate screamed summer colors and notes of citrus and briny olives brought all of the flavors together. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to try the Crab and Heirloom tomato dish.
Salmon Tartar: marinated hand cut salmon, kumato tomato, dill, avocado, chive - served with toasted crostone bread and side of arugula salad (Arbosano Olive Oil)
Red Quinoa Salad: red quinoa, faro, cucumber, heirloom cherry tomato, marinated carrot and red bell pepper, zucchini spaghetti, apple, mint olive tapenade (Picholine Olive Oil)
Rosemary Lamb Milanese: breaded with 6oz lamb chop, Marcano almond, tomato, shallot, broccolini, micro-arugula, caramalized lemon, rosemary garlic olive oil (Arbasana Olive Oil)
White Sea Bass Papillote: steamed white sea bass fillet in papillote, zucchini, eggplant, fennel, tomato, thyme, scallion, saffron (Arnequina Olive Oil)
The lamb presentation was unique; paillard style and breaded with a caramelized lemon on top. The lamb was good, but I especially enjoyed the broccolini.
The Sea Bass was steamed in papillote and opened in front of me. The aromatics that surfaced from the paper oven were lovely, however the sea bass wasn't as flaky as I'd hoped - perhaps cooked a tad too long for my taste.
Harry's Berries farm strawberries, mascarpone, balsamic and shortbread. A take on strawberry shortcake with refinement; simple and sublime.
Here's our Tastemade appisode at Fig and Olive:
The Fig and Olive presented a summer tasting menu I would re-visit again. Their integration of various olive oils and seasonal ingredients created fantastic courses for a meal very well-enjoyed.