Disclaimer: I do sell Figa wine, so I do have an interest here, but I wouldn't write a review if I hadn't had a good time and thought it was interesting. This is not a real judgment as I was there opening night and opening night is not when you really get a feel for a place. Although everything went very well, it is only opening night and I still believe it is unfair to judge a restaurant this early in the game. I did not take notes so this is just a general impression.
So tonight, Figa finally opened. Three years after I started hearing about it the most anticipated restaurant in Portland history is open. I actually held a candle light vigil for the restaurant last winter! So I was excited to put on my limited edition Figa T shirt that commemorated the water connection being put in and head over tonight.
I think it's a bad idea to judge a restaurant on opening night, or even opening week, but that said, Figa was great. I went with my brother and a friend of ours, so between the three of us we samples a lot of the menu. I started out with an enjoyable shrimp patia appetizer: a shrimp tomato preparation over a pancake thin biscuit that was mildly spiced. My brother had a wild boar dish that featured meat slow cooked all day in a tomato sauce. The Boar was still very flavorful but a great texture that came apart easily. For a second course I had Sev encrusted scallops with a pear and jicama slaw. I don't know what Sev is, but it was damn tasty! They were very large meaty scallops cooked perfectly with a sear on the outside but still a clean tender fresh center. The jicama was a great fresh crunchy counterpoint to the scallops. We finished dinner with a chicken roulade for me, duck breast with brandied figs (I think) and reduced brandy sauce for my brother and a gilled hangar steak for our friend. All were very god and well balanced; I was particularly excited by the local asparagus that accompanied my chicken, which was moist, tender and well seasoned.
I didn't take notes and like I said at the start these are really just passing impressions from opening night. But everything went very smoothly and the food was well prepared and creative. In everything it's the details that tell the most and it was the details that really impressed here. The coffee at the end came in a French press and was extremely fresh and smooth, the servers were very friendly and helpful, the bread that was put out was flavored three different ways and made a real accompaniment to the meal.
Over all I think Figa is a valuable addition to the Portland dining scene. It's a whole different cuisine, Lee is a talented experienced chef, and the prices were great. We had multiple courses for three people, dessert, and two bottles of wine for just under $150. All three of us agreed it was money well spent. So check it out. The wait was worth it.