Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Late Summer Fig in Santa Monica

Fairmont Miramar
101 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401 

The proper way to eat a fig, in society, 
Is to split it in four, holding it by the stump,
And open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist, honied, heavy-petalled four-petalled flower.

A few weeks back, on a lazy late summer Sunday riding our bikes through Santa Monica, down to Venice and back again, we decided to sup at Fig. Fig good. Worth a drive over the hill and through the woods for with a resounding, why YES!

Then you throw away the skin
Which is just like a four-sepalled calyx,
After you have taken off the blossom with your lips.

Fig is located in the posh Santa Monica Fairmont Miramar hotel, but don't be overly put off by the poshnessossity. Fig is more or less normal restaurant price, a lot less expensive than Melisse or Bistro LQ, and a bit spendier than Church & State. The bar is stunning, and we would have settled there had there been even the tiniest space to squeeze ourselves into.

But the vulgar way
Is just to put your mouth to the crack, and take out the flesh in one bite.

Decor is ever so reminiscent of an upscale Westwood home, circa 1970-something, owned by a professor and his bohemian wife. Lots of wooden earthy details, spare glitz, dish towel napkins in walnut rings.

Every fruit has its secret.

And there is diversity to the seating arrangements, not a bad seat in the house. We sat toward the front of the restaurant, great for people watching. The rear overlooks the pool and an expansive patio.

The fig is a very secretive fruit.
As you see it standing growing, you feel at once it is symbolic:
And it seems male.
But when you come to know it better, you agree with the Romans, it is female.

We started with one of our favorite wines, one we have never seen on a menu. Sean Thackrey Pleiades.

The Italians vulgarly say, it stands for the female part; the fig-fruit:
The fissure, the yoni,
The wonderful moist conductivity towards the centre.

Balsamic herb butter, salt cellar.

We started with chicken liver pate, a country pate, rough texture with beautiful cornichons and chunks of seat salt.

The flowering all inward and womb-fibrilled;
And but one orifice.

We shared one of the most elegant mussel dishes I have ever had, with grilled bread, a garden's worth of herbs, white wine and butter broth in this beautiful Staub cast iron pan. To the left there is a little grate, slightly separating the crunchy bread from sinking too deeply into the broth, yet allowing it to suck up the flavorful juice from the bottom like a straw. My mouth is watering.

 The fig, the horse-shoe, the squash-blossom.

 We both ordered steak au poivre, mine accompanied by a beautiful little salad with early grapefruit slices, giant cloves of roasted garlic and bleu cheese butter.

D ordered his with a giant mound of herbaceous frites and housemade catsup, very very tomatoey.

There was a flower that flowered inward, womb-ward;
            Now there is a fruit like a ripe womb.

We passed on dessert, not because it wasn't wildly tempting...chocolate pot de creme, strawberry shortcake, Meyer lemon curd. But mainly because we had shot our wad appetite wise on our appies and entrees.  A'hem.

It was always a secret.
            That's how it should be, the female should always be secret.

Even the bill presentation was in keeping thematically with the ambience and decor.   Tim Zebrowski (Del Coronado Hotel, San Diego, Eden Roc Hotel Miami Beach) is responsible for the interior. Way to follow through conceptually, Tim.

There never was any standing aloft and unfolded on a bough
            Like other flowers, in a revelation of petals;
  Silver-pink peach, venetian green glass of medlars and sorb-apples,
            Shallow wine-cups on short, bulging stems
            Openly pledging heaven:
            Here's to the thorn in flower! Here is to Utterance!
 The brave, adventurous rosace√¶.

Till the drop of ripeness exudes,
            And the year is over.

Excerpts of poetry from Figs, by D.H. Lawrence. Who else can write that legitimately porny, quoted in my blog, with me still holding my head high in public? Not Penthouse Forum, that's for sure. Not saying I checked.
FIG Restaurant in Los Angeles


Gastronomer said...

I really liked the poetic proses interjected every couple of stanzas! A unique review through and through. Hats off.

Food, she thought. said...


Coming from you this is high praise.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful post. I knew there was a reason I loved figs!

Kristine G said...

LOL @ Westwood chic by a professor and his bohemian wife circa 1970s!!!

A particularly fun and entertaining blog, if I do say so myself.

weezermonkey said...


burumun said...

The excerpts are a nice touch, I like it :)
I'm glad FIG still seems to be up to par, I haven't been in a while. I remembered the FIG bar was good though, in case you want to try that next time.

Diana said...

That steak looks positively perfect! I think Fig is going to the top of my must-eats list!

SinoSoul said...

Huge f'ing fan of this place. chef Garcia's lengua in green tomatillo is a true street dish smack dab in the middle of Santa Monica's coolest locales. Too bad the eponymous dessert is a total downer.

Never blew my wad here tho... even after multiple times. It's good, but not THAT good.

joanh said...

definitely "legitmately porny" hahah. at first i thought it was a poem Fig had on it's menu or something, but the juxtaposition of the poem probably makes the restaurant even more interesting... too bad they didn't have any more interesting fig desserts..