Restaurant review: Figs Offers Great Italian With an American Flair
Despite Dodgy Service, Restaurant Reflects The Talent of Founder Todd English
By Jillian Berry
42 Charles St.
Boston, MA 02114
Figs, a local restaurant chain started by famed Boston chef Todd English, offers locations in Boston, Charlestown, and Wellesley, easily accessible via public transportation. Figs can best be described as a gourmet Bertucci’s with a more upscale, American flair. The focus is on fresh salads ($6–$10), pasta dishes ($10–$20), and those famous brick oven pizzas ($10–$20).
First, the food. To begin, we were served two varieties of complimentary bread paired with oil. The bread was dense and moist, and tasted great with the oil, but it would have been even better fresh and warm.
On my visit, I shared a chicken risotto ($9.95) and an Isabelle pizza ($17). The chicken risotto was served with tomatoes and escarole in a light combination of tomato juice, chicken broth, and oil. The leafy escarole was perfectly complemented by freshly grated Parmesan cheese, the risotto was moist and flavorful without being mushy or hard, and the chicken was wonderfully tender. The Isabelle pizza, which is topped with ham, provolone, asparagus, and sweet onions, was generous and could easily be split between two or three people. The salty ham and sweet onions made for a tasty combination, and the thin crust only added to the delicious pizza.
After the main course, my guest had a cappuccino ($2.50), which was more American in flavor than Italian. The large serving of espresso was weak and watery, and the froth was equally disappointing. For dessert, I had a s’more ($6.95), which certainly had an authentic taste that reminded me of toasting marshmallows over a fire. The chocolate had a consistency reminiscent of pudding, a little unusual, but very flavorful.
While the food was excellent on the whole, the environment and service were not. My breath fogged in the bathroom, and I was definitely not the only one wearing a coat during my meal. Additionally, the service was slow, and the waitress often seemed more intent on chatting with her coworkers than actually working. Finally, there was a serious lack of communication among the staff: as we were waiting for dessert, we were offered bread twice.
In general, the food was worth the price, but the service could use some immediate help.