Affiliated and sharing space with the Alexander’s Salon & Spa on
431 Lackawanna Ave. in Scranton, PA, Fig restaurant has a mod but elegant atmosphere designed with accents of green and purple.
The outdoor seating had been taken down for Fall but the specials listed on a chalk board bragged a seasonal Hot Butternut Squash Soup! That’s what I love about Autumn, great soups! It and a 1/2 Sandwich was advertised for $7.50, Jim and I both agreed that sounded perfect.
We sat down in a couple of the wicker chairs at one of the 6 interior tables but admired the cool stainless steel juice bar decorated with dried flower arrangements and gourds. The walls were decorated with Fabric Art by Kristin Martelli and photography by Russell Lucas
Fig just opened this year, in June from what I can tell. The manager, Toby Landon, greeted us with bad news when she overheard our excitement over the Butternut Squash Soup. She told us they were out of all soups since Wednesday and offered the pasta salad as an option. We remained affable in recognizing that the chilly weather was bound to bring on increased soup consumption. We agreed to take a while and look over the menu which happily had a “V” by every Vegan choice.
Jim quietly pointed out to me that if they had been out of soup since Wednesday, four days later on Saturday it was not good to still advertising it on their wipe off board. Poor business practice and it should have been obvious where we got the soup information.
The menu did have plenty of other choices. All were moderately expensive, the special reflected the same prices as some other vegan meals. I chose a Mini Greens Salad with fresh mixed greens, 4 toppings and a dressing. I decided on that with beets, black beans, red pepper and avocado (up charge of 1.00). I ordered the house signature Fig Chutney as my dressing.
Jim chose the special with pasta salad. His half sandwich of choice was an Eggless Egg Salad on the Kalamata Olive Ciabatta. The sandwich filling is described as a foundation of cashews with turmeric, lemon juice, scallions, red pepper and spices. The sandwich was to be garnished with mixed greens and tomato.
Their menu offer 5 vegan bread choices from 2 local bakers and vegan baked goods as well as gluten-free options of bread and wraps. They focus on using organic fruits, veggies, greens, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices as local as available to create our vegetarian, vegan and raw dishes. There are 6 homemade salad dressings, pesto and hummus to enhance salads and sandwiches.
Much like The Enchanted Kitchen, our local vegetarian spot that is affiliated with a yoga center, Toby was handling the food prep and service by herself. Other similarities include the fresh juices and smoothies that are offered and easy to access WiFi.
That is pretty much where the similarities ended. The interior was clean modern and spotless. The music was at a nice volume and varied from Motown to Moby. Toby ended up juggling 3 or 4 tables and out meals were served with lightning speed.
I am not sure if it was because it was close to the end of the day or end of the week, Jim seemed to get a little short-changed on what he ordered. First he (and I for that matter) had the soup option taken away. The self-serve coffees were running out and his ciabatta was old. It’s not that we don’t know what ciabatta is like, it is thick and has a bit of a tougher texture to it but this was like the bread bag had been accidentally left open.
The Eggless Egg Salad was fine, just not like we would make it ourselves. A lot of people like their sandwich salads to be a smoother consistency. We like ours with chunks of stuff in it; celery, peppers, apple, pickles (sweet or sour) and even the base we like to have texture. This was very smooth and the flavor was a lot like a pimento spread. I could tell Jim was really disappointed in his sandwich and he said the pasta salad was ok. It had chopped yellow and red peppers, garbanzo beans, a tangy balsamic dressing, soft pasta and a smoked gouda cheese in it. It was odd that with all of the vegan questions we had been asking and vegan menu items we ordered that she didn’t emphasize that the pasta salad had cheese in it.
All components of my salad were good and fresh; the shredded beets were raw and not processed the way many places serve red beets. The signature Fig Chutney dressing really just struck me as a sweet and sour dressing with a coarse mustard and white wine vinegar. I couldn’t detect anything specifically “fig” about it but I also couldn’t really discern the garlic in it that Toby mentioned there was.
Toby was a real dear and shared with us samples of a couple of the smoothies since it was the end of the day. Both were banana based and the shot of cocoa flavored Spirit Lifter was very dense with the almond butter in it. Our second sample shot was the Antioxidant Strength with 3 different berries and was my favorite.
Our table was near the counter and we could chat a bit with the good manager about similar interests in NYC vegetarian restaurants. As we finished off our meal we were served once again what Toby referred to as, “a little treat.” Good golly, even though it was at the end of the meal we were served a perfect little Amuse-bouche! If we had been served this at the beginning of the meal, the slice of fig on a balsamic reduction topped with goat cheese and a simple nut would have been the perfect representation of Fig restaurant. It was impressive even at the end.
We also got some a couple of little desserts which Fig regularly calls “Vegan Treats.” Coincidence that the most amazing baked good on the east coast are made by Bethlehem, PA’s Vegan Treats? It does make me wonder a little. We got a tiny wedge of Chocolate Chip Baklava (awesome dark chocolate chips and cinnamon in a caramelized sugar) Jim swears was probably the last piece because it too tasted old. I got a Breast Cancer awareness Sugar Cookie (simple and perfect vanilla cookie).
Fig dances back and forth between a stellar cafe and a few to many mediocre moments to ignore. The best I could ever award it is a 4.5/5 stars BiNaH rating since it does serve meat products but I have a sneaking suspicious that it might deserve at least 4 and hope to return to have it prove me right. Until then, based on this experience alone, I have to rate it 3.5 (Jim voted only 3) but will look forward to trying some of the juices, maybe a pasta meal and having my dessert served on a pretty lotus shaped dish.
Since Fig does not yet have their menu posted, even on their FaceBook page, I scanned and am posting their take out menu (prices about $.50 highers per item).