Review: FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place Commemorates National Fig Week with New, French Riviera-Inspired Fall Menu

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A closer look at the Paella del Mar dish at FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place. (Anna Tiner/Living Out Loud LA)

A closer look at the Paella del Mar dish at FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place. (Anna Tiner/Living Out Loud LA)

Los Angeles has long been known for its kaleidoscope of dining options – which often spawn hour-long discussions just to narrow down the options. The key is to find those very few establishments that offer incomparable service, ambiance and, of course, exquisite dishes.

FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place is one such establishment.

FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place is FIG & OLIVE USA Inc.’s premier west coast location. It is located in the heart of West Hollywood, conveniently near Beverly Hills and its surrounding suburbs. Their theme is inspired by French Riviera cuisine, and olive oil is their defining ingredient. Fig & Olive does not use butter in their dishes, according to one of their servers. Instead, they utilize over 30 different types of olive oil from all over Spain, Italy and the south of France.

Executive Chef Pascal Lorange has just unveiled his new, Fig-centered fall menu – and let’s just say it’s nothing less than absolutely impressive.

Living Out Loud had the opportunity to sample their new Fall menu, and here are the highlights from the evening.

Jamon Iberico de Bellotas with Goat Cheese
This dish is prepared with traditional Iberian ham, accompanied by figs, goat cheese and Arbequina olive oil. The figs add a very exotic spin to this traditional dish, which serves as the perfect start to any meal you choose from their menu.

Fig Gorgonzola Tartlet. (Anna Tiner/Living Out Loud LA)

Fig Gorgonzola Tartlet. (Anna Tiner/LOL LA)

Fig Gorgonzola Tartlet
It’s prepared with prosciutto, figs, walnuts, arugula, scallions, and tomatoes on a pastry base. This dish has the perfect balance of sweet and salty from the figs and prosciutto and will pair nicely with any of their chardonnay selections.

Crab Cakes
By far, the absolute best crab cakes you can find in all of Los Angeles. Period. They are prepared with bell peppers, shallots, horseradish, lemon, and cilantro with a sweet pimenton aioli. They were absolutely exquisite – soft, fluffy and full of flavor. I could have never expected to find my favorite crab cakes ever at this location in the middle of the city. This type of quality is normally only found at seaside restaurants, so this was by far the most pleasant surprise of the evening.

Paella del Mar
This seafood paella is prepared with black tiger shrimp, sea scallops, calamari, mussels, saffron rice, chicken, green peas, red bell peppers, artichokes, saffron aioli, pimenton, oregano and Hojiblanca olive oil. You definitely get what you pay for, as all the different types of seafood are plentiful and absolutely fantastic. Unlike most restaurants that serve paella, at FIG & OLIVE, you get more than just a plateful of rice. The rice is as it should be – moist, sticky and full of flavor, and it does not compromise the integrity of the dish.

FIG & OLIVE Chicken Tajine
This dish is by far the most eclectic of all the dishes we had the opportunity to sample. It incorporates a perfect blend of chicken and vegetables – ideal for any calorie-conscious person. This dish is composed of Moroccan spiced free-range chicken served with figs, olives, apricot, carrots, zucchini, cipollini onions, tomatoes and toasted almonds with a side of couscous garnished with cilantro, harissa and Hojiblanca olive oil. The chicken is exquisite and melts in your mouth.

Rosemary Lamb Chops
Lamb chops come in all sorts of varieties and are served in countless ways – but not quite like this. This dish is uniquely presented and absolutely mouth-watering. The dish arrives at your table, fresh out of the kitchen, with rosemary branches still lightly lid, which gives it a very rustic aroma. Once the rosemary branches are no longer on fire, you are left with a very generous portion of perfectly grilled lamb chops. (The server recommended medium rare preparation, and it did not disappoint.) The chops are cooked to order and can easily serve two people.

Chocolate Pot D’Crème
For desert, we began with the Chocolate Pot D’Crème. This light desert is served with praline financiers and chocolate vanilla crème. It’s subtle, and does not overwhelm with chocolate. It’s ideal for those with an under-developed a sweet tooth.

Warm Chocolate Soufflé
This savory desert is served with candied orange and topped with vanilla ice cream. Perfect to split with that special someone, this desert is undeniably intoxicating. It’s rich in chocolate, and the vanilla ice cream provides that perfect balance. If you’re a chocolate lover, this desert is a must!

Strawberry Crostada
According to the manager, this desert was an impromptu creation from their chef – just because they had too many strawberries. The result is one of the most delicious deserts I have ever experienced. It’s served with filo dough, vanilla mascarpone, cointreau syrup, micro-basil and strawberries from Harry’s Berries. It had it all – a crunchy, light crust, light, delicious cream filling and the freshest, sweetest strawberries you can find. Truly a treat, and also ideal to share with that special someone.

Fig & Walnut Julep. (Anna Tiner/Living Out Loud LA)

Fig & Walnut Julep. (Anna Tiner/LOL LA)

Fig & Walnut Julep
FIG & OLIVE also offers a truly unique selection of cocktails. From their new Fall menu, comes their Fig & Walnut Julep, which is made with Bourbon, St. Germain, Port, with muddled black mission figs, fresh citrus and shaved walnuts, garnished with fresh mint. This delicious cocktail is light in taste, but definitely strong, and very bold.

El Matador
Next in our sampled cocktails list, is El Matador. This cocktail is symbolic of FIG & OLIVE’s unique selection, as it is prepared with tequila, rum, fresh lime juice, cilantro syrup and muddled jalapeños. This is a spicy drink done right – it tickles your throat without you needing to gulp a glass-full of water afterwards.

The Rossellini
This cocktail is virtually a hard candy served in a martini glass. It is prepared with passion fruit vodka, freshly squeezed blood orange juice and fresh lime juice – served straight up. This cocktail is perfect if you don’t like to taste much alcohol in your drink. Just be careful, because they will catch up to you. Their sweet taste do not make them any less strong.

Overall, this was a memorable dining experience. Besides the uncompromising hospitality and service, and the exquisite dishes, the ambiance at FIG & OLIVE is truly one of a kind. The beautiful olive tree right in the center of the restaurant serves as a symbol of their main ingredient, while the bar/lounge area serves to comfortably accommodate you and your friends for a drink after a long day at the office. The soothing lighting throughout the restaurant and its open layout make it an ideal locale for any occasion.

Bottom line: FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place is a gem of a restaurant, and it’s too good to miss.

FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place
8490 Melrose Pl.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 360-9100

Edison Millan is a Senior Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter: @edison_millan
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