I know it’s a rare concept in today’s world but I like my husband. Yep – we’re those people, we actually like each other. It occurred to us we hadn’t really had a date night in a while and no, errands and a beer don’t count. Last Saturday he requested the night off, we got dressed up and made reservations.
I gotta say, the Mr. looks nice in a suit!
The Flying Fig www.theflyingfig.com
In the heart of Ohio City the neighborhood is buzzing with activity. The beautiful weather means that all of the patios are filled with young couples sharing a glass of wine, old friends grabbing a snack before the show/game/concert and groups reuniting while valets scramble to keep the cars moving. We found the fig with a similarly packed patio. The online menu alluded to a more formal atmosphere but the patio was packed with flop flops and jorts. For a moment we felt overdressed. Upon entering the restaurant we were greeted with a warm smile and lead to a table in the back of the restaurant.
The decor is today’s modern. Not the cold “modern” of the 90’s and 2000’s but bold dark colors painted on the walls, dark wood, white cloth. I half expected to see an owl painted on the wall but there was restraint. Looking around at the other guests in the dining room we fit in much better. Apparently the inside is for the fancy people. There were quite a few more “obvious” couples here. Our server was a balance between the two atmospheres. Wearing black skinny jeans, a black shirt and newsboy cap he looked like he would be happier on the patio but when he approached the table, brought drinks or discussed the food he was clearly comfortable in the back dining room.
The drinks came along with some bread and oil. There were two kinds of bread – a strong, tart sourdough with a great crust and perfectly soft center and a mellow french bread with super sweet caramlized onions. We are off to a great start and I haven’t even tried my martini yet! Matt chose the “Dark and Stormy”, a mix of Kracken black rum and ginger beer. Kinda like a captain and ginger but darker with more spice. I chose a Lemon & Basil martini. It’s base is much like a lemon drop but nowhere near as sweet with muddled basil. Light, refreshing this is was a great palate cleanser between courses.
Speaking of courses… We started with two apps. He went for the chorizo stuffed, bacon wrapped dates after hearing me enjoy them at Avec. These were delicious with tender dates, house made chorizo and chewy bacon. Just like before. The difference here is that at Avec the sauce was spicy and I enjoyed the way it cut the fatty, rich chorizo and dates to add a bright note. That was missing a little here but still a great hometown option. I had the crispy chicken livers served with a light arugula salad. Lightly fried with a crumb crust they were rich but had just a touch of the trademark mineraly flavor. Not too strong at all.
Matt has been on a big duck kick recently and chose the Duck Confit. Confit refers to a classic french technique of first preserving the meat with salt then poaching in its own fat. Even though it is cooked in fat it is not greasy at all but super tender and flavorful from the herbs that are usually in the salting process. Here the duck leg was served with a duck sausage with similar flavors and roasted cauliflower over spatzel, a short, German egg noodle that takes on flavor from even the most delicate sauces. The drippings from the duck, some butter and garlic were all the dressing needed. The roasted cauliflower added a bit of crunch and lightness to a very rich dish.
I chose one of the specials for the evening. A pan seared red snapper. I can’t help it, every time I hear about a red snapper I think about that scene from UHF with Weird Al Yankovic where they are making new game shows for the network and one is Wheel of Fish where the lady wins the red snapper. I’ll admit, I ordered it partially because of that movie, partially because it is really tasty!
My snapper arrived in a large filet, firm with a good crust. This white flesh fish has a delicate flavor with large flakes. It was served over a creamy corn, edamame (soy bean) and bacon chowder. The sweet chowder had great texture with the chewy bacon and juicy corn. The fish stood up to the rich chowder with a light welcoming flavor. Wilted greens mounded in the center of the dish let the fish float on top of the chowder to preserve a crisp crust.
Comfortably full and discussing how much we were glad we made the drive out, Matt reminded me that we decided to try to splurge a little and go for desert since we seem to always miss that part. He chose a cardamom and almond ice cream. It reminded us of the smell of a good Indian restaurant – nutty and spicy but in a friendly way. I chose greek yogurt mixed with a touch of honey and fresh black berries and raspberries. Creamy but not too sweet this was the perfect end to dinner. On the side of the dish there was a small lemon cookie. It had a small brush of egg and sugar to give the airy little cookie a crisp outside with a soft, moist inside. The amazing little cookie cemented our decision to come back just so we could have the cookies for dessert.
Tonight’s adventure was a good mix of casual and special, a much-needed night to reconnect with Matt.
Until we eat again,