Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Figs, Charlestown MA

Friday night I had the extreme pleasure of dining at Todd English's restaurant Figs, in Charlestown MA. I had heard some poor reviews Figs last fall, but I was still excited to check it out for myself. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it exceeded all of my expectations.

We started with a Greek Salad, consisting mainly of romaine, red onions, olives, grape tomatos and feta cheese. Personally, I find it very difficult to make a bad salad, unless of course you are using bad ingredients. This salad was fresh and flavorful. First course was a success.

For my entree I had Butternut Squash Agnolotti, served in a brown butter and sage sauce. I was actually ordering somewhat blind as I had never before had agnolotti, but chose the item based on the combination of brown butter, sage and butternut squash which is a combination I truly adore. I was not at all disappointed in this dish. As it turns out, agnolotti, roughly translated to mean "priests hats", are a rectangular ravioli. I found that Figs version had a slightly bitter flavor to them, but this was perfectly off set by the sweetness of the butternut squash filling. Each bite was broken down between an initial hint of pure pasta, where that bitterness lay, followed by the sweet taste of the squash. Each flavor hit your palate differently so that you were able to experience both with every bite. It was delicious. The butter sage sauce added just enough liquid to the dish so you didnt feel as though you were eating dry pasta, but not enough to over power the delicate flavors. I would say that it was a perfect combination.

My companion had their Old School Tuscan Bolognese, which he raved about. Unfortunately I declined to taste it (trying to be observe those old Lenten practices about meat on Fridays) but he was sung its graces enough for me to know that it was a good dish.

We ended with their apple crisp, served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Whipped Cream is one of those items that I will judge a restaurant on. I feel as though fresh is the only way to go, and the preparation of it is important. This was done very well. It was absolutely fresh, and had the perfect blend of sugar and vanilla in it to make it not over poweringly sweet. The apple crisp was also good. I find that more often then not, people neglect to peel their apples for their crisp. Ive never been a fan of this method. Often the peel doesnt cook down to a palatable piece, but remains somewhat tough. This was the case with the apple crisp at Figs. Overall the spices were good, the crisp layer had a good combination of oats and sugar, but I walked away with a slightly bad taste in my mouth from apple peels.

Despite my own issues with their apple crisp, I would rate Figs to be an outstanding restaurant. I went in with very low expectations, but was absolutely astounded by the attention to detail and the flavors of their meals. I will absolutely be going back!


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