My spouse and I enjoyed dinner at FIG (the acronym stands for “Food Is Good”) on a Thursday evening in mid-November 2016. The restaurant is open for dinner only on Mondays through Saturdays (closed on Sundays). You can book a table 30 days in advance using the RESY online reservation system. The owner of FIG also operates The Ordinary on Upper King Street. Even if we had not stayed just a block away at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Guest
Suites Charleston-Historic District, we would have visited FIG because of its great reputation and popularity. When we arrived at 9:00 pm on a weeknight, patrons occupied every table in the dining room, as well as most of the seats at the drinks bar and bar counter.
FIG is located on Meeting Street in Charleston’s Historic District. The restaurant interior consists of two spaces: the bar area, which offers seating at a large round table, at the drinks bar, or at a bar counter positioned against the front window that offers a view of passersby on Meeting Street. If you cannot secure a reservation but feel compelled to dine at FIG, perhaps you can walk in and get a seat in the bar area. The dining room primarily offers seating at tables, although two booths are available at the back of the main dining room. Although the room features high ceilings and is spacious, tables are arranged closely together in order to maximize the number of patrons served. A few tables share a padded banquette on one side, with other tables (both round and square) arranged around the perimeter of the room. In the center, a table that seats a larger party is located adjacent to a central serving station. The lighting is soft, the wall color is warm, and distressed mirrors hang from the walls. White tablecloths and flatware and glassware create an elegant atmosphere.
FIG serves Lowcountry cuisine that features seasonal and local ingredients. The chef attended Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, and worked at restaurants in Peru (including the Hotel Monasterio in Cusco, where we stayed and dined in August of 2005; see our review titled “Loved This Hotel”) and Kansas City. At FIG, he has been promoted through various jobs in the kitchen to his current position as executive chef, which earned him the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Southeast in 2015. FIG believes that the dining experience involves more than just food. Staff is educated on all aspects of food and wine; indeed, service is fantastic! It is rare that we encounter a server who is so knowledgeable about a restaurant’s dishes and can offer intelligent suggestions and personal opinions.
To begin, we shared two starters. The rosti (crispy shredded potatoes served alongside soft-scrambled egg topped with trout roe) was one of our favorite dishes of the evening. The amazingly creamy perfectly cooked eggs have spoiled us forever for all other scrambled eggs! Our other starter, the ricotta gnocchi was also delicious, topped with lamb Bolognese, we worried that the dish would be too heavy, but it was the lightest (and largest!) gnocchi dumplings that we have ever eaten! As our entrees, we ordered the suckling pig (served with Carolina gold rice, fingerling sweet potatoes, and apple) and the cornmeal-dusted wreck fish paillard (with sweet potato, arugula, and granola); both were terrific, with the pig slightly more so. For dessert, we shared the butterscotch pot de crème, topped with fresh whipped cream and accompanied by amoretti cookies.
Our first meal in Charleston at FIG was a tremendous success. We hope that the rest of our meals live up to its high standards!