by Jeff Allen
Take a James Beard nominated chef, partner him with a great front man who can work the room like a master politician, throw in some very reasonable pricing, season the whole with unwavering authenticity and a dedication to local products, and you’ve got the genesis for success. Go to FIG on a Tuesday night, when the jazz flows from the corner like an aural fountain, the lights are low, and the boisterous scene explodes from the bar to turn the dining room into a late-night impromptu lounge, and you’ve got the best seat in the city.
Where else can you chill at a side table with a glass of Barbera or perhaps a Cote du Rhone and listen to the best jazz the Holy City has on tap for a Tuesday night? When Quentin Baxter is in the house the soundscape sometimes defies explanation – an otherworldly groove in perfect time with the stylish environs. Sometimes only a serving of that delectable rice pudding covered in black walnuts and cherries that Mike Lata throws out of the kitchen will do. Then again, late-night often calls for a more substantial snack, like some crispy duck confit, a braised short-rib ravioli, or perhaps even the symphonic brilliance of the Portuguese Fish stew, perfect to go with those free-form beats.