Friday night my spouse and I met for drinks and dinner at the Fig & Olive in City Center DC. I had been there once for lunch awhile ago and had a great dining experience and that does not even include the fact the staff let me sit at the bar and work for about three hours until my next appointment. But alas… dinner was a disappointment.
The staff was attentive but not overbearing and the outside space was contemporary and comfortable. The patio is not on any street so you just get the friendly, energetic activities of tourists and rushed DC folks on foot.
The menu is mediterranean focused and has a decent selection. The wine, beer selection is nothing special but expansive enough both in price and variety. I started with an Acai French 75 a cool and refreshing drink of gin, acai vodka and sparkling wine. My spouse got a cool crisp beer. We started with a cheese plate – the accompanying bread was grilled a bit but in flavor and texture was not far off from wonder bread. You don’t get to select your cheeses and the three selections were all relatively strong and creamy – no diversity in flavor or texture. We also ordered a side of olives – tasty but not outstanding. They also bring complimentary bread with three types of olive oil. All three olive oils were just how I love my olive oil – very strong, fruity with a tinge of bite. It was the best part of the meal. The accompanying bread was relatively bland.
For the main meal – I ordered the acclaimed shrimp and salmon over an arugula, fennel, onion, avocado salad. The shrimp and salmon were both tasty and were not over done. But, the salad was overdone with dressing – the greens were drowned to the point I could not even really taste the greens. Thankfully the dressing doing the drowning – citrus-cilantro was light and carried a great flavor – just way too much. My spouse got the branzino. Strangely for DC summers – there was a side of mashed potatoes – when its 95 degrees and muggy – who can eat mashed potatoes? But the branzino was flaky, gratifying and not over done.
We passed on dessert.
Next up for the weekend – we headed to an early dinner at Red, White and Basil. First, this place could not be any cuter if it tried – little red tables, basil growing in pots all over the place. They achieved their goal of a casual, welcoming, comfortable place reminiscent of Italy. The deal is you get a three course meal: salad, pasta (you choose the sauce), and cannoli for around $16-$20.
The sauces are what you would expect: red sauce, pesto, creamy pesto, vodka, spicy red sauce. You also get to select your salad and can add meatballs, shrimp, lobster, chicken if you want. They have “specials” which based on the menu I thought were some type of chicken or fish dish – nope more pasta with chicken or fish as part of it. So, if you want something other than pasta – you are out of luck.
The salad has a good selection of ingredients but was delivered soaking with what seemed to be a balsamic vinaigrette which, although having a great balsamic flavor was a disappointment because I thought the menu said it was a lemon vinaigrette.
The pesto sauce seemed to be creamy rather than straight up pesto and almost had a mustardy flavor rather than basil but it was a tasty dish.
The cannoli – was soggy, covered with honey and the inside was very liquidy – it was not worth the calories.
No bread to start with – disappointing love my bread and olive oil.
Wine and beer selection is limited but its OK since the place is really trying to be a casual pasta bar and not some high end italian joint.
The staff was attentive but yanked our plates before we were all done. Its OK place for a quick pasta meal but not worth a trip.