LA Confidential Magazine: Fig & Olive

The restaurant reviews in LA Confidential's Summer Issue led off with an eye-catching shot of Ray's and Stark Bar's Santa Barbara spot prawns, but I also covered a few other buzz-worthy openings from the past few months, including that of Fig & Olive, and East Coast paean to Southern French cooking that has finally made its way to the West Coast...with not one, but three opening parties.

My Frontiers review should have given you the gist of the place, but this write-up for LA Confidential really distills the experience. Bon appetit!


Fig & Olive

With bustling farmers’ markets and a Mediterranean climate, Southern California and the south of France have a lot in common. Bringing Provence that much closer to LA is restaurateur Laurent Halasz, who has transplanted the first West Coast installment of his New York City mini-chain, Fig & Olive, to Melrose Place.

The 8,000-square-foot space has an olive tree as its centerpiece, planters blooming with rosemary, a long marble martini bar and communal table, a private dining atrium, and a swanky Champagne bar upstairs.

Diners start with tastes from the international selection of olive oils, then it’s on to executive chef Pascal Lorange’s menu (which Halasz’s mother, Francine, helped shape) of nibbles such as crostini with mushroom, truffled artichoke and Parmesan; and fresh zucchini carpaccio with Parmesan and pine nuts drizzled with olive oil and lemon. From the grill, tender lamb chops are smoked with a bouquet of herbs de Provence over goat cheese-and-chive gnocchi and roasted eggplant.

Like the food, the wine list is exclusively Mediterranean, hailing from France, Spain and Italy. And the desserts here—including the Tropezienne, a brioche filled with mascarpone and Meyer lemon-glazed strawberries—are so good, who needs to go to Provence? 8490 Melrose Pl., West Hollywood;