Fig & Olive Opening March 3rd on Melrose Place

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Ham with "figs on a plate" Photo: Fig & Olive

It's been a week or two since we had news abut a New York restaurant coming to our city, so it was with great relief that we learned Fig & Olive, which has three locations in Manhattan, is set to open March 2nd on Melrose Place in its first West Coast location. A press release tells us this will be a split-level 8,000 square-foot space with room for 300 guests in both indoor and outdoor seating. And what's going to be served here?

The cuisine, under exec chef Pascal Lorange, is coastal Mediterranean and also takes inspiration from the French Riviera, while the restaurant is a huge pusher of olive oils from all over Europe, the basis of many a dish here and also sold in a market component at the entrance (guess it beats another t-shirt).

Every meal here starts with an extra virgin olive oil tasting that includes three different flavors with rosemary olive oil French focaccia (fougasse). There will be a 50-foot marble communal table for tasting dishes and small plates, which will include zucchini carpaccio, a fig gorgonzola tartlet with prosciutto, and cheese and charcuterie plates. Lunch will celebrate light coastal fare and local ingredients in dishes like a tiger shrimp and ricotta-marinated raw salmon salad, cucumber and pink pepercorn soup, and herbes de Provence paillard chicken on a bed of heirloom vegetables.

Dinner entrees are weightier and range from $17-$45. There will be seared scallops with truffle artichoke tapenade, a house-made ravioli with porcini and gorgonzola that comes topped with Jamon Iberico, a fig-glazed, grilled branzino, and rosemary-marinated lamb chops with a side of goat cheese gnocchi. Desserts, think honey-lavender madeleines and olive oil gelato, will be handled by pastry chef Andrew LeStourgeon.

While the main dining area is on the ground level, upstairs will be Fig & Olive Champagne Bar & Lounge, a spot for cocktails like fig mojitos or a signature "Piscine" (champagne on ice with strawberries), as well as various vintages of bubbly to sip while overlooking the action below and hosting DJs on weekends as well as the occasional private party.

So far, Fig & Olive sounds promising. Could we have another smash success like Scarpetta on our hands? Is it more like the Obika of olive oil? It surely has to be better than Cafe Habana. We'll find out March 2nd when a Facebook page promises "Michelin-star guest chefs from the South of France, the Italian luxury fashion house of Fendi, Lamborghini Car and Moët & Chandon Champagne" at the opening.

Fig & Olive, 8490 Melrose Pl. West Hollywood. 310-360-9100.