The Fig Tree Restaurant at the Lucas House has been open since 2005 and is just off 7th street in the Elizabeth neighborhood near Uptown Charlotte. Greg Zanitsch serves as chef and owner of this fine dining establishment. The menu changes seasonally and according to what items are available, but follows along the lines of classic European country dishes.
We kicked it off with the Carpaccio ($12.00) of thinly sliced prime beef topped with capers, balsamic pearls, hearts of palm with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil. This set the stage as everything was done simply, but right. The salty cheese against the acidic balsamic pearls and hearts of palm paired nicely with the tender beef.
Both entrees came with a side, and we opted for Caesar Salad. Garlicky with a hint of anchovy, this was not your run of the mill Caesar. Housemade croutons and freshly grated Parmesan were the beautiful finishing touches. Our servers also made sure we had a steady stream of homemade rosemary focaccia brought to the table. We tried not to fill up on bread, but it was so fluffy and rich, it was hard to resist the carb invasion.
The Grouper with Lobster ($42.00) is a sautéed Day Boat Grouper Filet and Maine Lobster Tail over Saffron Risotto with Lobster Beurre Blanc. There’s nothing worse than ordering a seafood dish to have the fish be rubbery and bland. The grouper and lobster were cooked flawlessly, seasoned well and melted in our mouths. Although, I think the copious amounts of butter added to this sensation, too. We’re not complaining, though.
The Elk Chop ($42.00) was a double-cut Grilled New Zealand Elk Chop over Horseradish Spaetzle with Smoked Bacon-Braised Purple Cabbage and Boursin-Dijon Sauce. If you’ve had a bad “gamey meat” experience with elk, bison, or the like; make a beeline to The Fig Tree. This delectably rare double chop was tender and rich with a flavor profile similar to grass-fed beef. We weren’t crazy about the braised cabbage by itself, as it was on the tart side. However, with the spaetzle and sauce, it all balanced out when eaten together.
At this point, we couldn’t NOT order dessert. The bar had been set so high! We opted for the Beignets served with Cinnamon Crème Anglaise and Coffee Ice Cream ($8.00). Sweet, but not overly so. The spice of the cinnamon was cut with the anglaise and the ice cream; which made it nice to mix and match which one you wanted to try out.
The Fig Tree is one of the most talked about places in Charlotte, and we can see why. The service, food and ambiance is second to none. Despite being in a historic home, the restaurant is intimate enough for each table to feel private, yet enough space to not feel cramped. The Fig Tree does fine dining right without the pretense and stuffiness so many others inhabit.
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke and works as a consultant in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @