December 20, 2014

Dining Review: Figs Grille

Flavors of the Mediterranean shine in delicious specialties from nearly every port-of-call.

Photography by Vanessa Rogers

 

Mediterranean cuisine is so broad it’s almost hard to get your arms around. From the flavors of Spain, Southern France and Italy to those of Greece, Turkey and Egypt, the region’s bountiful culinary legacy reigns supreme over all comers. From what I had heard, dining at Figs Grille in Bonita Springs is a little like sampling the specialties of several ports-of-call. Figs is Egyptian-born owner and chef Sam Tadros’ latest incarnation of Mediterranean delights. (He had already opened two restaurants here, Sam-Bucco Bistro in North Naples and La Fontanella in Bonita.) We were ready to start our excursion.

Don’t judge Figs’ merits by the strip center locale, although the outdoor patio and fountain do look inviting. Inside, you encounter soft gold walls and sheer swag curtains, gold-patterned banquettes accented with warm shades of red, dark wood seating, softly lit sconces and Middle Eastern pierced metal lighting. Tadros is right up front to greet you with a smile, and will continue his pilgrimage to your table several times during your meal. And he’ll make sure you are satisfied every step of the way.

Ah, so many choices, so little time and stomach capacity. My husband and I reluctantly narrowed our appetizer choices to two: chilled (roasted) eggplant ($7.25) with Roma tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, lemon and EVOO (wonderful on its own or heaped on wedges of pita bread); and chevre ($10.50). We each chose glasses of Clean Slate Reisling (house), Mosel- Saar-Ruwer, Germany ($7), which balanced the flavors beautifully.

This was followed by the signature “Figs” salad ($5.50)—a fusion of sweet figs, baby spinach and mandarin orange topped with pistachios and tossed with a creamy, savory fig/balsamic dressing.

For an entree, my husband chose and ultimately loved his generously sized roasted duck ($26.50). It boasted an especially crisp skin, complemented by a savory sauce of fig chutney, pistachio and port wine, and accompanied by creamy scalloped potatoes and a large broccoli floret. His glass of Malbec, Antigal Uno, Mendoza, Argentina ($9), while traditionally a perfect complement to duck, was a particularly nice enhancement to the flavor of this dish.

Roasted duck at Figs Grille in Bonita Springs.

I decided to try the orange roughy special for my entree and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Our attentive server, Nadine, checked with us immediately after we were served, and offered me the menu right away so I could make another selection. She graciously reported exactly how long it would take, and Sam appeared with my substitute entree a mere 10 minutes later. I very much enjoyed my savory corvina fish ($22.95) sautéed with wild mushrooms, peas, fresh tomatoes and herbs, finished with garlic saffron sauce, and accompanied by scalloped potatoes and broccoli. Equally important, our server and host expertly took care of the situation, making it a negligible blip in the overall dining experience.

Dessert was a tough decision (chocolate marquise, tiramisu, crème brulee—oh my!).We chose the rich-sounding chocolate marquise ($6.25). Described as a semi-sweet chocolate mousse with crème anglaise and raspberry drizzle, the “mousse” was actually more of a silky, smooth chocolate fudge, and the crème anglaise and raspberry drizzle were wonderfully subtle complements.

Absolutely yummy.

Overall, we found Figs Grille to be the whole package: a warm, inviting ambience; personal and attentive service; authentic Mediterranean cuisine served without overly pretentious presentation; and an abundance of culinary choices to suit almost any palate. (For example, we didn’t even sample any of the lamb dishes for which the Mediterranean is known, as well as favorites like baba ganoush, mousaka, hummus, kebobs and more.) To that end,  we have already planned selections for our next visit—with friends, to share our find.

 

Figs Grille

25987 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 109, Bonita Springs

(239) 390-1700, figsgrille.com

Open daily for dinner 4:30-10 p.m. Wheelchair accessible. Reservations recommended.

Chocolate marquise, semi-sweet chocolate mousse with creme anglaise and raspberry drizzle.

 

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