After so many great meals in the Minneapolis area, I knew my luck would eventually run out. For some reason I changed my normal process of choosing a restaurant, did not check my normal sources and chose Figlio for dinner. As much as the décor was cool and hip, the atmosphere vibrant, the server energetic and the crowd streaming in, the food was the trifecta of unappetizing food.
After being promptly seated, the server arrived, described the specials and guided me to less food than I thought I wanted to order. The server brought over a basket of bread, four baguette slices that were slightly warmed and the server placed some olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar on the plate. It is important to eat the bread while it is warm as when it cools, it hardens quickly and approaches unappetizing.
My appetizer, the “Beet Salad” is described on the menu to include butter lettuce, hazelnut, pickled shallots with sour cream and horseradish vinaigrette. This was like no other beet salad I have ever seen, it was a mound of butter lettuce with the others ingredients on top, and the beets were cubes of several varieties tossed with the other ingredients. The beets ranged from sweet to tasteless to bitter, the shallots were overly pungent, not really pickled, the lettuce was bitter and the vinaigrette overwhelmed all the other flavors. The hazelnuts were completely lost. There was not one ingredient other than a few cubes of the light colored beets that were tasty. Each of the components was unappealing and together they were borderline inedible. I had a few bites and pushed aside.
The oven “Roasted Chicken” was served with roasted eggplant, tomato jam, Israeli couscous, samfaina, and fresh herbs. The roasted chicken was a single chicken breast, cut in half to give the appearance of a half a chicken. It was vastly overcooked and dry, and the exposed meat was even drier than the interior, probably from over roasting compounded by sitting under the heat lamps after being cut in half. The skin was flaccid and lacked any crispness, how the kitchen accomplished this is a mystery. It was completely inedible. The couscous was cooked to the proper doneness but it was cool when served. The samfaina was covered with two slices of melted supermarket quality cheese, without any rhyme or reason. After two bites of the chicken and one bite of each of the accompaniments, it was time to move on. I sent it back.
The server suggested the pizza and I reluctantly chose the “Sausage” with fennel sausage, grilled apple, rosemary, mozzarella, and tomato sauce. The crust was very a thin cracker crust and the toppings were very generous. The crust was horrible and tasted like flour and water. As much as I saw some fennel seeds, there was very little fennel flavor in the sausage, the cheese was tasteless and the apples did nothing to the overall composition. But a bite of the pie surprisingly delivered an overwhelming mouthful of pepper…none of the ingredients could be tasted through the abundance of pepper. I felt embarrassed not eating at least a few slices, so I suffered through this affront to pizza.
As much as the server was pleasant and informative, sometimes overly, and offered dessert “on the house” I declined and decided to cut my losses and head out. Other than the physical plant and the overly eager staff, Figlio was a complete culinary disappointment.