Fig & Olive Melrose Place

Fig & Olive 011Halle Berry and I have something in common, we both enjoy dining at Fig & Olive Melrose Place. Almost every item on the menu is topped, sautéed or dressed with various olive oils. No butter is used at this restaurant.

After a trip to the South of France last summer, Chef Pascal Lorange returned to Los Angeles inspired by the produce he sampled in Mougins and Cannes. With the produce he purchases locally from Kenter Canyon Farms in Sun Valley, Lorange marries these fresh items with an assortment of signature olive oils and spices that duplicates the aroma and character of dishes from the South of France, Italy and Spain.

Chef Lorange’s Fall harvest menu offers some exciting dishes that I longed to try. I joined two friends for lunch to experience some of his new appetizers, entrées and desserts.

The restaurant is attractively decorated with a flourishing olive tree dominating the center. Planters of fresh rosemary bushes are sprinkled throughout the room.

We started with a pretty pink flute of Bellenda Rose sparkling wine with notes of strawberry and raspberry.

First, we received slices of Housemade rosemary bread with three small dishes of olive oil for dipping. The mildest olive oil was buttery with fruity notes and a hint of artichoke. The medium flavored oil from Greece was greener tasting. The most assertive tasting oil was from Portugal and offered a slight bitter finish. The restaurant sells nine different oils and infused olive oils too. There are orange, basil, lemon and white truffle oIive oils available to sample and purchase.

The assistant general manager Chris Gonzalez shared a witty description of the bread with oils. “The rosemary bread dipped into one of the olive oils is a culinary equivalent of a hot bath.”

An appetizer of six crostinis that included shrimp, avocado, cilantro and tomato that looked enticing was deliverd to a table near us . We opted to order the 3-course lunch menu offering selections of wonderful soups, salads and appetizers for the first course.

To read the rest of my review, click on this link, courtesy of the Beverly Press Published on Nov. 28, 2012.

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