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FIG

232 Meeting St., Charleston, SC - (843) 805-5900
Posted By Michael Stern on 10/15/2003 4:38:00 AM
"FIG" is an acronym for Food Is Good; and when you eat in this restaurant, you cannot help but agree. It's fancier and more expensive than typical Roadfood -- expect to spend a good $25 to $30 per person, not including drinks -- but if you are looking for a memorable Charleston dinner that is polite but not too swanky, you can't go wrong eating here.

It is a corner storefront on Meeting street with a long bar up front that you pass to get into the dining room. Accommodations are spacious at white-clothed tables topped with white butcher paper; walls are decorated with large, amusing paintings of food; and the staff is friendly and efficient.

The menu is stylish, but with a classic Southern flair. Meals begin with slices of fresh, yeasty bread and sweet butter; and how good it is to then fork into a warm salad of local shrimp, pancetta ham, and radicchio! Other compelling appetizer choices include a selection of artisinal cheeses and a plate of Serrano ham with olives, fennel and spiced almonds.

Shrimp is also available as an entree, plated with chorizo in tomato-anise broth; and the rice-flour-dusted flounder with brown butter and capers is an only-in-the-Lowcountry meal. For meat eaters, there is exemplary hanger steak, slow-roasted pork shank, or herb-crusted rack of lamb. Vegetables are served family style, and they are wonderful -- especially ham-laced butter beans, roasted beets with sherry vinegar, and sea-salted fingerling potatoes. One of the most interesting aspects of the FIG menu is its inclusion of old-fashioned gourmet treats such as steak tartare, coq au vin, and roast suckling pig.

You will pass the dessert table as you walk into the dining room from the bar. It is beautiful, and the one we tried -- blueberry tart -- was extra-sweet and utterly satisfying.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Panna Cotta of Greek Yogurt
Strube Ranch Bistro Steak
Banana Tarte-Tatin
Crispy Pork Shoulder
Roasted Beets
Frisee Salad
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Normally, the oh-so-succulent hanger steak comes with filet beans and celery root potatoes, but a certain one of us Sterns was watching her carbs, and so asked for it with spaghetti squash instead. As if this cut of steak weren't rich enough, that's herbed butter melting on top of the meat.
"Normally, the oh-so-succulent hanger steak comes with filet beans and celery root potatoes, but a certain one of us Sterns was watching her carbs, and so asked for it with spaghetti squash instead. As if this cut of steak weren't rich enough, that's herbed butter melting on top of the meat."
Michael Stern





There's plenty of room inside FIG, and many tables offer a view of Meeting Street.
"There's plenty of room inside FIG, and many tables offer a view of Meeting Street."
Michael Stern


No secondary side-dish, these toothsome butter beans are deeply satisfying, laced with ribbons of salty-sweet Serrano ham.
"No secondary side-dish, these toothsome butter beans are deeply satisfying, laced with ribbons of salty-sweet Serrano ham."
Michael Stern


FIG = Food Is Good
"FIG = Food Is Good"
Michael Stern


You pass the dessert table on your way through the bar into the dining room. This blueberry tart is one of its star attractions.
"You pass the dessert table on your way through the bar into the dining room. This blueberry tart is one of its star attractions."
Michael Stern


Pepper seared tuna is presented atop a bed of tomato concasse, topped with frisee, and drizzled with elegant olive oil.
"Pepper seared tuna is presented atop a bed of tomato concasse, topped with frisee, and drizzled with elegant olive oil."
Michael Stern


This warm salad of shrimp and radicchio was perhaps the single most delicious thing we ate during five days in Charleston.
"This warm salad of shrimp and radicchio was perhaps the single most delicious thing we ate during five days in Charleston."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Beets, potatoes, and cauliflower.  Most assuredly not of the undercooked and underseasoned barenaked school of vegetable cookery, FIG's vegetable preparations accentuate the best qualities of each one.
"Beets, potatoes, and cauliflower. Most assuredly not of the undercooked and underseasoned barenaked school of vegetable cookery, FIG's vegetable preparations accentuate the best qualities of each one."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


FIG's menu notes that the kitchen uses all-natural, hormone-antibiotic free meat. This steak is evidence that such ecological virtue has some very delicious rewards. It bursts with beef flavor. Alongside it on the plate are heirloom potatoes and bush beans plastered with pesto.
"FIG's menu notes that the kitchen uses all-natural, hormone-antibiotic free meat. This steak is evidence that such ecological virtue has some very delicious rewards. It bursts with beef flavor. Alongside it on the plate are heirloom potatoes and bush beans plastered with pesto."
Michael Stern


Did I detect some honey in the sherry vinegar that glistens on this roasted beets? Some pieces verge on crunchy while others want to dissolve on the tongue.
"Did I detect some honey in the sherry vinegar that glistens on this roasted beets? Some pieces verge on crunchy while others want to dissolve on the tongue."
Michael Stern


A hunk of juice-oozing 'Sandy Rose Farms pork shoulder' sits atop a bed of pureed sweet potatoes alongside broccoli rabe and two kinds of roasted beet.
"A hunk of juice-oozing 'Sandy Rose Farms pork shoulder' sits atop a bed of pureed sweet potatoes alongside broccoli rabe and two kinds of roasted beet."
Michael Stern


Note the poached sea-island egg towards the back of this plate of frisee salad. The picture does not do justice to how much bacon is laced into the frisee, nor to how intensely garlicky the dressing is.
"Note the poached sea-island egg towards the back of this plate of frisee salad. The picture does not do justice to how much bacon is laced into the frisee, nor to how intensely garlicky the dressing is."
Michael Stern


To the right: densely sweet banana tarte tatin. At the left: a giant droplet of chocolate caramel ice cream. This one had me wanting to lick the plate clean.
"To the right: densely sweet banana tarte tatin. At the left: a giant droplet of chocolate caramel ice cream. This one had me wanting to lick the plate clean."
Michael Stern


Simple, stylish, and drop-dead delicious, panna of Greek yogurt reduces the dairy dish to its creamy, tangy essence. Add local berries and consomme of rhubarb and you have an unusual dessert never to be forgotten.
"Simple, stylish, and drop-dead delicious, panna of Greek yogurt reduces the dairy dish to its creamy, tangy essence. Add local berries and consomme of rhubarb and you have an unusual dessert never to be forgotten."
Michael Stern



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