Fig & Olive Downtown

Fig & Olive
Meatpacking District
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Minutes into a meal at Fig & Olive’s downtown location, the server delivered a basket of bread and a trio of olive oils: a sweet tapenade-laced French number; a fruity, slightly grassy Italian one; and a peppery, kick-in-your-throat Spanish oil. As a welcome, it sure beat the usual bread and butter. Unfortunately, it was the best thing we ate until dessert. The setting was fabulous—soaring ceilings, tall walls of glowing olive-oil bottles—but no savory dish we tried stood out from any other, perhaps because the kitchen couldn’t resist the urge to douse everything with olive oil. A cauliflower soup special, sold by the server as a “no-cream, no-animal-stock” concoction made, of course, with olive oil, tasted like warm cauliflower water and was only palatable once we added a hefty dose of salt. The Fig & Olive salad was an odd combination of three mismatched cheeses (Manchego, goat and Gorgonzola), aggressive balsamic dressing and tiny unpitted olives—we had to go digging through the dressed greens to find each one so we wouldn’t break our teeth. Entrées also fell short. Crabmeat and ricotta ravioli were beautifully presented side by side on a long, thin plate, but tasted mostly like ricotta and hardly of crab. Skewers of grilled shrimp, chicken and lamb (pictured) came out looking great but tasted bland. This might explain why a crisp, warm apple tart topped with vanilla ice cream stood out as such a fantastic ending: The rich dessert was made with good old cream and butter.
Venue name: Fig & Olive Downtown
Address: 420 W 13th St
New York

Cross street: between Ninth Ave and Washington St
Opening hours: Mon, Tue 11:30am–midnight; Wed–Fri 11:30am–1am; Sat 11am–1am; Sun 11am–midnight
Transport: Subway: A, C, E to 14th St; L to Eighth Ave
Price: Average main course: $24. AmEx, MC, V
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