Middle Fingers Raised Toward Chang, S.F. Chefs Proudly Serve Figs on Plates

Tyler Florence's
Tyler Florence’s “Fig on a Plate” first course at Wayfare Tavern. Photo: Georg Lester/Grub Street

Nine months after that certain remark by David Chang about how “Fuckin’ every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate,” and just as figs are coming into season, Grub Street SF finds that chefs around town are still making reference to Chang’s dig on their menus. They’re not only preparing figs without shame in various ways (i.e. “do[ing] something” with their food), but in several cases also cheekily (and arguably still defensively) naming their dishes “figs on a plate.”

Below, several recent and current examples:

Wayfare Tavern - Tyler Florence just did his first revision to the menu at his brand new, man-friendly, early-20th-Century-themed Financial District eatery, and right there among the first courses: Fig on a Plate - a salad of fresh figs with sunflower seeds, roasted onion, burrata, and a honey-black pepper dressing.

Luce - Chef Dominique Crenn is currently doing a fig-centric tasting menu through the end of July, featuring three fig courses for $35: “Foie Gras with figs and texture”; a poussin with bulgur porridge, chanterelles and Mission figs; and black olive cake with roasted figs, yogurt sorbet, and fig granola. As Crenn tells Grub Street, waxing poetic, she loves cooking with figs because they’re “like a summer dance when nature is awake and singing.”

Morimoto Napa - The Iron Chef’s new wine country neo-fusion restaurant just opened last week, and among the menu items unique to the new location is Morimoto’s “twist on figs on a plate”: fig tempura with peanut butter and foie gras sauce.

Mission Street Food - The pop-up that will soon go perm under the name Commonwealth hosted a dinner in March that featured several nods toward iconic S.F. fare, like Rice-a-Roni, and “fig on a plate” — which turned out to be sautéed lamb tongue with fig and Fernet jam, beluga lentils, mint yogurt, and fried ginger. We wouldn’t be shocked to find another reference on Commonwealth’s menu, when the time comes.

Chez Panisse - Not long after Chang’s comment, which was followed at the same event by Bourdain calling Alice Waters “Pol Pot in a muumuu,” SFist unearthed a 2008 menu from Chez Panisse Café featuring “A bowl of Cannard Farm Black Mission figs and a Frog Hollow Warren pear” for $8.25. We note that this week, on Friday July 23, you may also find a fig first course downstairs at Chez, featuring a classic pairing with prosciutto and ricotta.

Feel free to send us any and all “fig on a plate” sightings that you may find as fig season gets into full swing.

Related: Bourdain, Chang Reunited Live Onstage [Grub Street NY]
Earlier: Chang’s Fig-Gate: Data Has the Final Word? [Grub Street]
New Yorkers’ Jabs Open San Franciscans’ Wounds [Grub Street]

Middle Fingers Raised Toward Chang, S.F. Chefs Proudly Serve Figs on Plates