Market Forces: Fig at the Fairmont Miramar
The food scene in Santa Monica is famously governed by the rhythms of the Santa Monica Farmers Market, the Wednesday-morning institution that has become a weekly Woodstock of lettuces, blood oranges and beets. Fig, the new loungy bistro in the Fairmont Miramar, is so connected to the farmers market that it is possible to suspect the existence of an oversized umbilical cord soaring above the hotel entrance’s giant Moreton Bay Fig tree from which the restaurant takes its name. There is not just butter with your bread but arugula butter; not just grilled romaine in the anchovy salad but blistered Little Gem hearts; not just citrus zest with the parsnips but grated Buddha’s Hand. A little line on the bottom of the menu, where the stock ticker would be at the bottom of a CNBC feed, lists not just produce just coming into season and produce in peak season but also produce Coming Soon, so that even during February showers we may take comfort in the strawberries and green peas yet to come, preferably while dining on the seasonally appropriate sautéed Bloomsdale spinach with Kurobuta pork. Even the cocktails are flavored with things like rhubarb and rosemary, fresh blueberries and thyme, and English cucumber with lavender.
Ray Garcia’s cooking is mostly in the straightforward, French-tinged, organic-casual style we have come to associate with dining on the Westside, and although it is not quite a small-plates restaurant in the mode of Gjelina, it certainly can be treated as one, with housemade charcuterie, a big cheese board and lots of oysters. Vegetable sides are things like roasted cauliflower with hazelnuts and Brussels sprouts with bacon. Chanterelles with chestnuts outnumber the diver scallops this and the muscovy duck leg that, and there is a definite emphasis on big salads and steak frites. You will not be surprised to learn that the restaurant’s signature dessert is a hot homemade version of Fig Newtons.
Fig, 101 Wilshire Blvd.,Santa Monica, in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel; (310) 319-1111 or www.figsantamonica.com.
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