delicious discourse

DD in NYC – The Fig and the Olive, 808 Lexington Avenue

Posted in restaurants by delicious:discourse on August 21, 2008

With a name like The Fig and the Olive I feel as if I am about to read you a children’s story rather than blog about a Mediterranean Foodie Oasis in New York City. Matt and I stumbled across the F&O on previous trip. Overhearing us voicing our need for a really good cup of coffee, someone walking by told us we need to go to the F&O. So after sleeping in until noon and taking a jaunt in Central Park before the rain came down, Matt and I headed out in search of the F&O and whatever it might bring. We were desperate for a good light meal radiating sunshine, yet simultaneously cozy before we headed to the airport to be delayed hours on our flight back to Austin. Anyway, we had a wonderful meal and excellent coffee. I remember you could almost taste the grass on the sun-washed hills of Italy in one of the bowls of the olive oil trio served with your bread. Each one was so different and took you to a different place. I had never experienced olive oil like that before.

So, on the last day of our most recent trip to NYC it seemed fitting that we dine at the F&O for our last meal in the city before we headed to Newark to be delayed hours, once again, on our flight back to Austin. Once again, we were also escaping the rain outside, although rejuvenated from the meal we returned to the world outside to sparkling clear sunshine. This time however, we brought company and as far as I can judge, they were equally impressed. With its white walls, quiet and soothing interior, and pleasant wait staff, the F&O is a much needed escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Time slows down within its walls. The food, like the ambiance, is serene yet surprising and interesting, light yet radiating warmth.

With dreams of the Indian food we had had the night before, I ordered chicken samosas for munching before the main course. They were flaky, soft and delicate, filled with chicken, Greek yogurt, cilantro, bell peppers, scallions, and sundried tomato olive oil.

R, on a soup kick, opted for the Gazpacho over the Cucumber and Pink Peppercorn soup. Chilled, with tomato, bell pepper, onion, basil, and pine nuts, he savored every bite, alternating with the bowl of olives. B went for the Provencal Vegetable Salad and did not stop to talk until every bite of the grilled eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, purple onion, tomato, baby arugula, parmesan, avocado, toasted pine nuts, and 18-year-old balsamic dressing was gone. Unusual for me, I decided on the Jamon y Manchego salad. Ham, jamon, is not usually something I order, but I have been hooked on Manchego cheese since I made a pizza with it and the combination sounded too good to pass up. With jamon serrano (which is almost like proscuitto), Manchego cheese, tomatos, crushed marcona almonds, fennell, figs, scallions, over warm goat cheese toasts, it was everything I thought it would be and more. Not knowing when his next meal woul be, Matt devoured a chicken dish stuffed with goat cheese, fennel, crushed almonds, and placed on a mound of creamy polenta.

Oh, and I almost forgot, for dessert we ordered an apple tart a la mode. It was a deserving end to not only the meal, but the weekend as well.

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