Fig & Olive Review - Excellent Cuisine; Warm Welcoming Atmosphere; Poor Service

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Fig & Olive on Melrose Place, the West Coast flagship introduction to owner Laurent Halasz highly successful East Coast French Mediterranean restaurants, exudes warm charm and ambiance from the moment the doors open.

The West Hollywood location is in the heart of Los Angeles’ Restaurant Row, the corner La Cienega and Melrose, is within walking distance to both flashy fads and couture fashion. West Hollywood, often known for over-the-top displays akin to New York City’s West Village, Fig & Olive chose a quiet location close to the trendy, ultra-chic and fashionable boutiques and store along the famous Melrose Place.

The restaurant is beautiful; warmly decorated, welcoming, comfortable seating. Under the Direction of Executive Chef Wilfrid Hocquet and Chef de Cuisine Oscar Ledesma, Fig & Olive operates a farm to table philosophy and selects ingredients from local selected farms for the authentic taste, seasonal quality and utilizes products from Kenter Canyon, Weiser Family Farm, Babe Farm and Mary’s Farm.

Invited to dine at Fig & Olive, I did my usual restaurant study before the evening. The menu offerings were deliciously described pairing of Mediterranean and South of France fare.

I arrived after my guest and he had chosen a lovely table on the second floor. The evening was a combination business and pleasure. Dining with a film producer and well known author and while I’m not dropping names, the reality, as the evening continued, is not to judge the table by the guests.

Our server, initially appeared attentive and efficient.

His options for our dining experience began subtly with beverage choice. I have some knowledge of wines and knew what I wanted. The server made the choice without offering to name even a few of the selections Fig & Olive offered.

I had reviewed the menu prior to the evening so my choices were narrowed from the possibilities including a variety of Fish, Chilean Sea Bass, Pella De Mar, Mediterranean Branzino and Riviera Salmon, Meats Provence Roasted Chicken, Veal Milanese,  Rosemary Lamb Chops, and Filet Mignon.

I ordered the Fig & Olive Salad, a leafy salad, with grilled chicken breast. The leafy salad was gently tossed with an ample serving manchego, gorgonzola dolce, fig, apple tomato, walnut, olive romaine and mesclun from Kenter Farm, scallion, fig balsamic with Arbequina Olive Oil.

We also ordered from Fig & Olive’s delicious side and appetizer selections. As Brussel sprouts are a favorite vegetable of mine, I couldn’t pass. Fig & Olive prepared them seared at high heat with Hazelnut & Balsamic Vinegar. Magnifique!

My companion ordered an appetizer of Butternut Squash and Chestnut Soup. Also a favorite, the server placed the empty bowl, with roasted butternut squash, shaved chestnut, onion, toasted squash seed and Arbequina Olive oil arranged in a half moon in front of my companion. Then poured the butternut squash base into the bowl from a mini carafe. It retained the heat and seemed delicious.

The cuisine is very important and to make a great evening other elements are also important. Our server, and I understand the restaurant concept, the table are to turnover, and I did feel as if our server was a bit to efficient. Especially as we neared the end of our dining.

I almost felt as it at any moment he and his team were going to pull the tablecloth out in one swift and deft move and suddenly it would be set for the next table. I do understand and  . . .the experience is also very important and to be rushed even at the end was a bit much.

As we ended the evening, lingering over the Fig & Olive Dessert Sampler, four bite size sweet offerings of Pear Crostini, Chocolate Pot de Crème, Crunchy Praline and Chestnut Mousse. All created under the watchful eye of Pastry Chef Andrew LeStourgeon again delicious flavor popping combinations.

We ordered a second round of coffee and when the server came to the table he indicated someone was sent to our table and we told them we didn’t want the coffee after all. A miscommunication? Of course as we were expecting the coffee. When he came back and poured the coffee he created a large spill near my companion’s cup where one would rest if one were leaning into conversation.

After dinner, and even before, it became a mad rush on the server’s part to have us order, enjoy the meal and rush us out, limiting our time. I understand his earnings may be effected a single two top table that stays longer than his allotted time frame and in reality it was rude.

While we finished the desserts, he came back and asked if we were finished and even as I indicated “no” he had already cleared the used silverware and placed it on the leftover dessert plate ending any opportunity to continue sampling the delicious pastry and confectionary creations.

The culinary options and experience was memorable. With delicious combinations of flavors, tender seared cooked to perfection Chicken breast, Brussel sprouts to die for and the Butternut squash soup, by companion described as “very good.”

We also enjoyed dessert and again the Fig & Olive Sampler, with four miniature confectionary creations, it was sweet end to a delicious dining experience.

Certainly, I feel, Fig & Olive, should expect its clientele to enjoy the entire dining experience which includes conversation with one’s dinner guests before ordering, after dinner, over coffee and through dessert and then some.

And while I am a modern women, I was somewhat shocked that the check would be placed directly to my left, near my place setting . . .or what was left of it.

Fig & Olive is an epicurean experience, delicious delicacies and confectionary creations of perfection.

The server, however, went from efficient to rude to brisk to unpleasant. 

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