45° Good Afternoon
45° Good Afternoon

Wild Fig review

A chicken salad bowl with cabbage, cucumbers, chick

A chicken salad bowl with cabbage, cucumbers, chick peas, tomatoes and olive at Wild Fig in Roslyn. (March 27, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Wild Fig was first planted in Glen Cove back in 2001. The Turkish-Mediterranean restaurant went on to sprout offshoots in Garden City and Syosset. Now comes a sleek and modern incarnation: a cafeteria-style branch in Roslyn.

Get in line and start with pide, a filled Turkish pizza-like pastry ideal for sharing. It's displayed on the counter, par-baked and then finished in a stone hearth oven. The savory spinach, feta and kashar cheese variety works well. Soups, however, don't come up to that level; the red lentil is timidly seasoned, the chicken bulgur dotted with overdone bits of poultry.

A counter person composes your sandwich, salad or rice plate from an array of components on display. To bypass the task of choosing, you can opt for a set item. One possibility is a falafel and hummus sandwich on flatbread with greens, tomato-cucumber salad, tahini and hot pepper sauce. Good, if messy and unwieldy.

For simplicity's sake, try ordering the babaganoush, or eggplant dip, as a side dish. What comes across is the purée's lovely smokiness. But when that same eggplant mixture is stuffed inside a sandwich or placed over salad greens or rice, along with three other toppings (choices include lentil salad, spicy feta, hummus and a terrific chickpea salad), it gets lost in the mishmash.

On to the next job: picking a protein. One afternoon, skewered grilled chicken meatballs come out juicy, highly seasoned, delicious. Fine, too, are grilled beef meatballs. But steak kebabs are overcooked, as are dry white meat chicken kebabs. Nothing is hot.

A final step remains: choosing a finishing sauce or dressing. Best, for salads, is the simple combo of olive oil and lemon.

Dessert is a comparative breeze: a respectable piece of baklava, prepackaged.

Of course, you could opt for a leisurely meal at any of Wild Fig's full-service restaurants. Get your lamb kebabs grilled medium-rare, to order. Or dig into a crisp lahmajun, the Turkish version of thin-crust pizza topped with a lively minced beef mixture. These options aren't available in Roslyn, where the menu is smaller. So, too -- by a considerable amount -- is the tab.

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