Flying Fig turns 20 this year, and for once, pioneering chef Karen Small is happy to look backwards.
The venerable Ohio City restaurant’s long-standing mission to provide locally sourced, seasonally inspired options has made it thrive. So has Small, one of Cleveland’s finest chefs, a 2018 James Beard Award regional semifinalist and part of a sinfully small handful of women captaining local kitchens.
To commemorate two decades of excellence, Small plans to revive dishes from Flying Fig’s beginnings.
“We’re going to have a lot of throwback dinners to when we first opened,” she says. “It’s going to be interesting to see how we reinterpret things from 20 years ago.”
Expect updated versions of old favorites such as duck confit enchiladas and short ribs. The chef is still toying with how to present these new twists, but expect fresh ingredients and bold flavors when they hit the menu at the beginning of summer.
But don’t sleep on Small’s new stuff either. A braised pork shank pasta with poached farm egg and pancetta ($22) and roasted Tea Hills Farm chicken accompanied by focaccia panzanella ($25) are just a few of the new dishes Small says are in store.
There’s a reason why, year after year, we select Flying Fig as one of Cleveland’s best restaurants: it is, and always has been, just damn good.
“It’s a menu that changes a lot,” says Small. “When you’ve been in one place for two decades, you’ve got to keep changing or you’re going to go crazy. Change has sustained us being here for 20 years.”
2523 Market Ave., Cleveland, 216-241-4243, theflyingfig.com
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