Background: Mike Lata opened FIG (Food is Good) in Charleston in 2003. By 2009, he won his first James Beard Award and the accolades continue to roll in. FIG is now one of the older restaurants on the inexhaustible Charleston scene, which multiplies in delicious cuisine seemingly by the minute, but it remains a do-not-miss--at least for our impromptu double-date weekend with Danny & Nancy (Dancy). Lata is currently cheffing at his new restaurant, The Ordinary, but everything about FIG remains unbridled foodie perfection.
Eat This: We couldn't get reservations at FIG for Saturday night, but we were prepared to wait it out at the bar. An hour and two cocktails later, we were seated at the community table where we made a new friend--Arthur! Arthur was a lovely dining companion who loves food as much as we do, so we just ordered pretty much everything and split it. We left full and happy due to the wonderful food and even better conversation. Arthur--this one's for you!
Well, if you read our last post (ahem), you know that Jason's favorite dish of last year was the spaghetti with soft shell crab from FIG. This time, they had spaghetti with blue crab, and it was very similar. Jason proclaimed it good, though not quite as good as the iteration he had in the spring.
My favorite dish here is by far and away the Ricotta Gnocchi with pork bolognese. This was the first dish I ever ordered here, and I can't stay away. The gnocchi are fluffy pillows and the sauce is delightfully savory. Don't skip this one!
The other small plate we tried was the Duck Egg Tartine with oyster mushrooms and fromage blanc (that would be "white cheese" in french #sophisticated). This dish was Nancy's jam--it was just the right amount of salty, and who doesn't love a perfectly fried egg?
For entrees, we tried the Chicken al Mattone, the Grey Triggerfish, and the Snowy Grouper. All of the mains were terrific and flavorful. Jason especially liked the chicken, which was perfectly cooked and served atop a Caesar salad. Chicken is either merely fine/edible or mind-blowing in its simple perfection---this one was the latter.
Dessert: If you know anything about Javon you know we love dessert, so naturally we ordered one of everything. That night we had Buttermilk Panna Cotta with grapefruit, Gingerbread Pain Perdu, and Buttered Rum Cake. They were all delicious. Art admitted that he doesn't even like gingerbread, but even he couldn't stop eating this one. Jason's favorite was the rum cake.
Drink: The cocktails at FIG are always top notch. This time we tried the Witches Blossom, which was aptly described as a "lemon herbal smoke show" - scotch, pamplemousse rosé, strega, lemon. Whoa.
Atmosphere: The atmosphere at FIG, while not terrible, is definitely a bit dated. It still holds the early 2000s "charm" from its opening days, and they clearly are aware, as this was the last night FIG was open before they closed for a remodel for a few weeks. How lucky are we that we got in before that? Uh, very.
Southern Hospitality: The servers here have a tendency to be a little "too cool for you," or maybe that's just my insecurities showing. Bueller? Bueller?
Frankie's Notes: There is nothing nicer than sitting at a community table and having the most unexpectedly lovely dining companion; What are the odds that the community table would be a bunch of mensches?; Shout out to Art for asking Danny the hard-hitting questions about #Dancy's future; Danny's ghost tours aren't what they are cracked up to be; When you go to Charleston and the food options are so exciting that you go home with a box of donuts and a stomachache.
Rating: 5 out of 5 and 1 Michigan Pug
232 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401