Thursday, February 12, 2009

Flying Fig: Past and Present

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I’ve lived in Cleveland the majority of my life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago, that I had an “epiphany” of sorts with regard to what fantastic dining experiences this city has to offer. At the time, my husband and I were living in Philadelphia, and expanding our culinary horizons with dinners at places like Buddakan and Django.

We returned to Cleveland in the Spring of 2006 for a family wedding and decided to have our first dinner at the Flying Fig. I recall the ever so charming waiter suggesting a dinner comprised of three of their small plates…the most memorable of all being the Hoisin glazed short ribs. With that meal, I fell in love with this the Fig. The ribs were fall off the bone, melt in your mouth, sweet and salty goodness. To this day, I yearn to see those Hoisin short ribs back on the menu (over a year ago they were replaced with a Pilsner reduction version…no offense, but they just aren’t as good). I’ve even gone as far as writing Karen Small, the chef and owner of the Flying Fig, to request the recipe (she politely declined and indicated they may return again some day…I’m still waiting and watching the menu….patiently….).

My not so secret yearning for the return of the Hoisin glazed short ribs to the menu is part of what brings me back to the Flying Fig again and again. However, on this occasion what also brought us in was my husband’s desire for their kickin’ $5 Blue Cheese Burger and Fries off the Happy Hour menu. A gourmet, full size burger and fries, for $5…you can’t beat that with a stick in this economy. I went with what has become my current darling on their dinner menu – the Seared Duck Breast & Confit of Duck Leg with Butternut Squash Spaetzle, Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Apple and a Cranberry Reduction ($25). I’m a bit of a sauce girl, and as a result, I just couldn’t get enough of the sweet cranberry reduction. It reminded me of the cranberry compote that they’ve served with the cheese plate in the past, not too thin and definitely thick enough to coat each delectable piece of duck.

This evening I had what I considered to be one of their best and most generous desserts, the Peach and Blueberry Crisp. I switched out the Buttermilk ice cream for Cinnamon Almond ice cream, and let me tell you, that was a winner of a substitution. Cal had the dessert special of the evening, which was French Toast with Strawberry compote and a Maple Reduction. They were just about to launch their new Brunch service, so we felt this dessert might have been a trial run of sorts. He only shared a small taste of the Maple reduction sauce, which was super thick and better than any maple syrup I’ve ever tasted.

All in all, it was a solid, well rounded meal and we went home as happy as we could be considering we had just returned from Hawaii the day before.

I look forward to returning the Flying Fig, always in search of new favorites and ever dreaming that my first true love, the hoisin glazed short ribs, will return again some day to grace my palate.

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