Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler.
Change is afoot at Fig + Farro, the stylish eatery in Uptown’s Calhoun Square. The restaurant recently hired chef Charlie Baez (who has worked at The Copper Hen, Young Joni, and Grand Cafe), and he has—as of this week—overseen a shift to a completely plant-based menu.
We’re fans of falafel, and we figured if Fig + Farro could pull off this deceptively tricky Middle Eastern favorite, they might be on the right path. Much to our satisfaction, the Fig + Farro interpretation of falafel ($13) was loyal to the essence of the dish while still offering some entertaining twists.
The dish provides a sense of contrast, elevation, and balance missing from most local interpretations of falafel. The yellow pea-based falafel balls are properly fried with a crispy (but not burnt) exterior and their flavor is boosted with the addition of fermented chiles; an herbed toum-based garlic sauce offers a cool contrast to the warming spice of the falafel; and the bright, engaging flavors of fresh dill and pomegranate seeds scattered across the plate are welcome accents. In terms of both texture and flavor, the plate plays skillfully with contrasts, and the amount of food offered is fair for the price—it makes a light lunch for one or an enjoyable starter for two.
The dish and the plant-based menu shift overall are in line with owner Michelle Courtright’s low-carbon footprint vision for Fig + Farro. Courtright, a climate change activist, will be heading to the COP24 climate change conference in Poland this December; she’s also part of a business delegation organized by the Minneapolis-based Climate Generation organization. The restaurant also hosts a monthly Climate Series Salon and Supper Club featuring dinner and a discussion with climate experts.
The Dish: Yellow Pea Falafel, $13
The Place: Fig + Farro, Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis
The Reason: It’s a surprisingly hearty, boldly flavored appetizer that dines like a main