Formule de Fig

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fig+front[1].jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

I love prix-fixe menus, and wish more restaurants outside of Europe embraced the concept. There is something very satisfying about walking into a restaurant and having the whole meal just brought to you without instruction, all thought out and planned and decided by the chefs. So obviously, when the girl and the fig invited me to come check out their Bistro Plat du Jour prix fixe, I jumped at the chance.
The three-course menu changes every Thursday night, and makes the most of the season.  The evening I was there, the kitchen sent out an extra amuse of pork consommé with cranberry beans, cubed fingerling potatoes, tomatoes, and housemade chorizo.  It was a great way to warm up, shake off the rainy weather, and whet the appetite for the rich, earthy flavors that followed.

The official prix fixe kicked off with a gorgeous poached farm egg perched on top of a brioche crouton. A small frisee salad with pancetta, tarragon, and red wine vinaigrette flanked the egg, much to my delight (I love runny eggs with frisee). The yolk glazed the sweet pork and bitter crunchy greens with its warm golden goodness, and the house-made brioche sopped up any deliciousness that had escaped the salad. The restaurant paired this fabulosity with a bright and sparkling blanc de blancs from Pol Clément, refreshing the palate and (appropriately) celebrating getting to eat eggs and toast for dinner.

girlandfig2.jpgNext up was a saffron bourride paired with Qupe's Marsanne-Roussanne, a New World incarnation of the classic white Rhone grapes. This bourride was like a tricked out California version of bouillabaisse, and well suited to the bolder style of the Central Coast wine. Tender halibut chunks, bay scallops, mussels, fresh cranberry beans, and crescents of chorizo bathed in a saffron-scented tomato-based broth, with a tangle of julienned fennel and carrot and a drizzle of garlicky rouille over the top. The kitchen did a great job with this one, cooking each type of seafood perfectly, and amplifying the fresh sea flavors with the aromatic veggies, chorizo, and seriously addicting sauce. Had I not had dessert coming already, I would have licked the bowl and begged for more. As it was, I let them take the dish away with several thimblefuls of liquid still remaining.

cheeseplate.jpegDessert requires the only decision of the evening: cheese plate or sweets. Our cheese plate offered a marinated soft sheep's milk feta and a piece of aged Petite Jurassic, garnished with dense housemade fig-nut bread, a sweet tomato marmalade, and some roast nuts. The sweeter tooth option was a spiced pumpkin ice cream sandwich with airy chocolate slabs holding it together, and a fabulous oozy chocolate sauce studded with cocoa nibs.

At $32 per person, this is a steal. And with the menu changing every week, it'll be hard to get sick of this girl.

girl and the fig
110 West Spain St., Sonoma

$34 for 3-courses; $8 more for flight of 3 wines paired with each course


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