Food Porn: Truffles, Pizzas and Octopus Carpaccio… Pictures from Last Night!

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“The most learned men have been questioned as to the nature of this tuber, and after two thousand years of argument and discussion their answer is the same as it was on the first day: we do not know. The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: eat us and praise the Lord.”

– Alexandre Dumas 

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Di Stefano Artisan Burrata, Brioche Crostini, Fig Jam

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Since we’ve opened I have always treated the charcuterie bat like a sushi bar.  My cooks Michael and Chris kibbitz with guests offering them dishes that aren’t on any menu. It is a beautiful focal point for our restaurant.figue 2013 15 figue 2013 14 figue 2013 13


Carpaccio of Octopus $18

Truffle Basil Aioli, Arugula and Asparagus Salad, shaved Manchego, Brioche Crostini

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The octopus carpaccio is something I wanted to do for ten years now.  Last night was the first experiments.  I kept it fairly classic in liberal sense.  I mean we all know carpaccio Is raw beef drizzled with an olive oil dressing and garnished with shaved cheese. Invented in 1950 by Mr. Cipriani at Harry’s Bar in Venice.  The dish was inspired by the Contessa Amalia Nani Mocenigo whose doctor had recommended she go on a diet of raw meat.  Mr. Cipriani had visited the art exhibit of the famed Renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio, known for his brilliant reds and whites.  Like any legendary dish, it mutates and morphs into something new.  Change always comes whether we want it to or not.  Our character is decided on how we handle it.

Turban of Sea Scallop and Burgundy Truffles $30

Spaghetti, shaved Truffles, Cabbage Salad, Beurre Blanc

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This is one of my favorite Joel Robuchon inspired dishes.  A single strand of spaghetti is wrapped around the interior of a savarin mold, filled with scallop and truffle mousse and big hunks of scallop then steamed.

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Turned out onto a pasta bowl, paired with a cabbage salad, slivers of fresh Burgundy truffles and an old school beurre blanc made with French butter.

figue 2013 06While I had my camera out I took a few more food shots…

figue 2013 38Buckwheat Pasta and Squid Ink Chitarra waiting to be cooked…figue 2013 22

Squid Ink Chitarra Pasta in Guazetto $28

Greek Branzino, Mussels and Shrimp in a Saffron Tomato Brodo, Hand Cut Squid Ink Pasta

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Kibbe│ Lebanese Lamb and Bulgur Wheat meatballs, Cucumber salad, Hummus – 14 

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Daube of slow braised Wagyu Beef Cheek $36

baked Ricotta galette, Cherry Tomato confite, Pumpkin Seed Crumble, Micro Arugula

figue 2013 12Sticky Toffee Cake

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Moroccan Donuts and Harissa Hot Chocolate $9

house made Donuts, Cinnamon Sugar, spicy Hot Chocolate

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Express Gratitude

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;

they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

― Marcel Proust

I want to express thanks to all the people in my life that helped get me to this point, even if kicking and screaming was involved on my part.  I would be remiss if I did not thank my beautiful wife and partner in life, Lisa, who has been the sun  nurturing my soul with her wisdom and encouragement.  With her I have shared some of the best moments of my life and hope to share in many, many more.  My little son Beaumont who’s inquisitiveness and true joy of life has retaught lessons  that I have long forgotten or buried beneath the dust and cobwebs of being an adult.  He has shown me that children are often more wise than their elders.  I thank my mother and father for not only the obvious of bringing me into this world, but for sharing their passion for culture and gastronomy.  It because of who they were that I am what I am.  The picture below sits on my desk and fills my heart with untold happiness to see my folks at a very happy moment of their lives.

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I want to thank my step father Karl Fritz, sister Anne, Joan and Gary Verne all for different reasons.  I thank all the sous chefs I have ever been blessed to work with; Jason and Doug for many crazy times in New York living the dream.  I thank Dave “the Animal” in PEI for an unbridled joy, fire and an intensity he brings to the kitchen elevating everyone and everything around him.  I seriously walk in the kitchen every single day trying just to be a bit like him.  I thank Beau Mac for looking long and hard and finding me in my witness relocation program far from the ranges, hiding among 10,000 gallon fermenting tanks at Bob and Claudia’s amazing winery in Northern California.  His passion has relight the fire that glows white hot in my heart today.  Pay it forward…  Pay it back… I should probably thank all my mentors who’s love for cooking and kicking my ass on a daily basis got me to stand before the stage on which I am faced.  There were many, but most notably, Michel Leborgne, Michel Martinez, Louis Szathmary and Franklin Biggs.  These guys were legends in my my formative years and still hold a special place in my heart.  In adding to them I must thank Joel Robuchon who let me do a short stage while on vacation in 1996.  It is amazing how much one’s life can be upended in such a short amount of time.  Going further down the culinary road I must be thankful to all the great Chefs who have lived before…  They carried the torch, le feu sacre, forward throughout history and defined our culture and what distinguishes us from other animals.  Without the greats like Careme, Garlin, Dubois, Nignon, Escoffier, Point… where would we be today?

So on this beautifully warm February day, I am thankful for so much.  A special thanks to Lee Morcus for putting together a wild collection of characters who will people Figue, the latest greatest Mediterranean restaurant.  It will be one hell of a ride!

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