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Sonoma County Restaurant Week: The Fig Café

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The fifth annual Sonoma County Restaurant Week has come to a close and locals are left satisfied by delicious food at reasonable prices. The purpose of Sonoma County Restaurant Week, which was held this year between March 10th-16th, is to offer locals and visitors a chance to enjoy a fine dining experience without breaking the bank. This year, local restaurants offered prix fixe two course lunches between $10-$20 and three course dinners between $19-$39, depending on the restaurant. Without a doubt, Sonoma County Restaurant Week provided, and will continue to provide, the perfect opportunity to taste a vast array of fresh flavors and wonderful cuisines from talented, local chefs.

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This year, The Fig Café in Glen Ellen served up a three course dinner for $29. Bryan Jones, chef and general manager, delighted guests with his French country cooking. The Fig Café's prix fixe menu began with a light salad of grilled asparagus, arugula, shaved Vella dry jack cheese, sieved egg, and lemon vinaigrette—a true welcoming of spring cuisine. The main course, an apricot and fennel stuffed pork roast with cannellini beans, escarole ragout, and fennel boasted nice earthiness and an excellent balance of textures. As an alternative to the entrée, the chef also offered a lightly floured flounder served atop a bed of creamed potatoes and spinach with crispy leeks—a pleasant combination of flavors and textures. For dessert, the chef satisfied taste buds with a delectable butterscotch pot de crème with crème fraîche and a Florentine cookie.

The salad of grilled asparagus, arugula, shaved Vella dry jack cheese, sieved egg, and lemon vinaigrette had an excellent confluence of tastes and textures. The earthy asparagus—grilled slightly to give it a nice roasted flavor—complimented the bitter arugula; these flavors were juxtaposed perfectly against the tart lemon vinaigrette. The addition of the sieved egg and dry Vella jack cheese mellowed out the earthy bitterness and also provided a nice contrast in texture. Furthermore, the soft sieved egg was a nice balance against the slightly crunchy asparagus. The subtle tartness of the lemon vinaigrette was also a satisfying contrast to the mildly pungent cheese. Overall, this was a delightfully fresh and flavorful salad.

For the main course, Chef Bryan Jones did a fantastic job of combining the sweet taste of the apricot with the earthy cannellini and escarole ragout; this combination was an excellent choice because of the way the flavors contrasted each other. Of course, the tender pork—which provided a fatty, richness to the dish—complimented both the sweetness and earthiness. In addition, the herbaceous fennel provided a nice pungency in spice that heightened the complexity of the dish and enhanced the flavor interactions. The texture of tender pork roast, too—juxtaposed against the starchy texture of the cannellini beans—gave the dish a lovely mouth feel and consistency. Ultimately, this entrée was bursting with the kind of textures and flavors every good meal should exhibit.

The alternative to the entrée, a lightly floured flounder served atop a bed of creamed potatoes and spinach with crispy leaks, was also an incredibly impressive combination of flavors and textures. The flounder was cooked to perfect consistency, juicy and tender on the inside, complimenting the creamy and starchy potatoes. In contrast to the creamed potatoes, the crispy leeks made the textures of this dish well balanced. The rich, creamy sauce—which consisted of cream, a little lemon squeeze, and chives—was a nice variation alongside the earthy spinach and subtly sweet, crispy leeks. While the fish was a lighter alternative to the pork roast, this dish was equally as satisfying and full of excellent flavor.

For dessert, the consistency of the butterscotch pot de crème could not have been any better. The chef knew what he was doing when he whipped up this delectable concoction of sweet caramel and toasted flavors. The small dollop of crème fraîche on top of the pot de crème—which had subtle hints of meyer lemon—provided balance to the rich sweetness of the butterscotch. Again, the chef's attention to detail shines in this dish, as he topped the pot de crème with a Florentine cookie to provide good contrast in texture; this small bit of crunch made this melt in your mouth butterscotch pot de crème a well-rounded dessert, which was impossible not to finish!

Overall, Chef Bryan Jones provided a menu with mouthwatering combinations of flavors and textures that any foodie would jump at the chance to eat. Food like this, served in such a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, makes The Fig Café an excellent local Sonoma County restaurant that is absolutely worth visiting—more than once.