This is the fifth in the Life desk’s series of reviews during Charlottesville’s 2023 Restaurant Week — food writers also ate at Mockingbird, The Ridley, Bizou, Maru and Tavern & Grocery.
I recently had the delight to dine at a familiar bistro right at the Corner for the first time — Fig. In the spirit of previewing Restaurant Week, I made a reservation this past weekend to craft a review of my experience at the family-owned restaurant. During Restaurant Week, you can eat an appetizer, entree and dessert at a flat rate of $35 per person. After my dinner, I recommend dining at Fig during Restaurant Week — especially if you’re looking for a romantic night out or an intimate dinner with loved ones.
A pair of dark blue curtains framed the entrance as my date and I stepped in, providing the impression of entering a home. A colorful mural stretched alongside the wall to our right with dynamic figures and their namesake — “Food Is Good.” We were greeted warmly by the hostess and seated promptly. I had the pleasure to sit at a long, cushioned bench lining the left side of the restaurant with charming throw pillows nestled across.
It was not difficult to relax as we took in our surroundings and browsed our entree options. Several groups of friends, families and the like were scattered throughout the restaurant as upbeat jazz music filtered through the lively conversations filling the air around us. I found myself often admiring the soft, yellow lights lining the ceiling, creating an intimate, cozy atmosphere.
To begin our meal, we ordered the truffle mash pierogies, which can be found on their regular and Restaurant Week menus. According to our waitress, they are a family recipe from the owner’s own mother, adding to the homey theme of the bistro. The service at the restaurant was exceptional — the friendly waitstaff always ensured we were being taken care of and helped us understand our selections.
Our appetizer arrived remarkably quickly. The pierogies were delicately arranged on a large plate filled with warm truffle sauce with spinach and tomatoes tucked in between them. We dug in by dipping the pierogies into the creamy sauce. The crust was a little chewier than I expected, but the warm mashed potatoes inside proved to enhance the taste. Our favorite part of the dish was the spinach, as it was perfectly cooked and bursting with flavor. We polished off the plate in no time.
For our main course, my boyfriend opted for the walnut-crusted salmon while I chose the basil pesto penne — both entrees are on their regular and Restaurant Week menus. I also ordered a signature drink at Fig — Veronica’s Moscow Mule. The cocktail was crafted by one of the bistro’s very own waitresses, who found inspiration for the recipe on a family trip to a beach. I loved the sharp, citrusy flavor accented by ginger undertones of the drink.
Our entrees came in on enormous plates. The fresh and warm smells wafted from my plate of basil pesto penne. The proportion of tomatoes, chicken and spinach to the pasta was perfect and complemented by its savory pesto sauce. I struggled to eat the entire dish but found it incredibly satisfying. The walnut-crusted salmon tasted crisp and tender but didn’t lack in juiciness. The crunchy walnuts alongside the softer salmon was a surprisingly tasty pair and also turned out to be a hearty, filling dish.
For dessert, we were presented with a familiar favorite — a slice of tuxedo cake — and a signature recipe from the owner’s family, baklava. Baklava, a recipe originating from the Middle East, is a recipe consisting of flaky, filo dough layered with nuts. I smothered my baklava in the powdered sugar and thoroughly enjoyed it. As a diner with a sweet tooth, I found the baklava a standout dish of my dinner. The tuxedo cake was also savory and especially moist.
After my experience, though, I have to say that the highlight was the people. My mood was brightened by the groups of friends creating memories together and hearing the laughter of a child with their parents at the table beside us. Even watching the waitstaff laughing and supporting one another enhanced the energy in the room.
I highly recommend anyone looking to experience the beautiful spirit and tastes of Charlottesville check out Fig during Restaurant Week — and afterward.