Indian Ink and Fig & Olive

In Sir Tom Stoppard’s 1995 Indian Ink, based on a radio play, Flora Crewe, a young British poet, diagnosed with a fatal illness (something to do with her lungs) decides to spend the last few months of her life in India writing poetry and letters to her younger sister Eleanor. The play transports us to a fictitious town, Jummapur, where Flora has her pick of men to distract her and she chooses an artist like herself. He is one of many; Men were not really important to Flora,” says her sister played by Tony winner Rosemary Harris. “If they had been, they would have been fewer. She used them like batteries. When things went flat, she’d put in a new one...”.

The play jumps back and forth between India 1930 and England 1980. Flora in India and her sister Eleanor fifty years later in England recanting Flora’s story to a young writer and the son of the painter who did Flora’s portrait. Stoppard questions what to do with time and the choices people make. Rosemary Harris and Romola Garai (Flora) are delightful and the two Das men (Firdous Bamji, father, and Bhavesh Patel, son) romantic and captivating. As always with Stoppard, the dialogue is thrilling.

The set is bathed in soft blue light and lulling instrumentals. Indian Ink has few patches of rough water. Mostly the waves are gentle and rhythmic. Elegantly directed by Carey Perloff. The Roundabout follows this up with Stoppard’s 1982 smash hit, The Real Thing.

Gazpacho Andalucia
Zucchini Carpaccio
Off Fifth Avenue on 52nd St. is one of three Fig & Olive restaurants in the city (another on the Upper East Side and one in the Meatpacking District). Chef Pascal Lorange's menu emphasizes fish (including octapus served a couple of ways and whole branzino) and different olive oils, often listed. On the drinks menu is an heirloom tomato Bloody Mary. Anything you order will be better than you've had anywhere else. The mushroom pasta, Penne Funghi Tartufo, was the most mushroom pasta ever: garlicky, flecked with herbs and Parmesan flakes, topped with grilled shrimp. (Maybe it's the very specific olive oil that made it taste so good?)

Gazpacho Andalucia was the best gazpacho. Zucchini carpaccio may be the only zucchini carpaccio you've ever tasted, but it's the best (zucchini, lemon, pine nuts, Parmesan and Picholine olive oil). The $28 three-course prix fixe allows you to savor all of the above. The noise level is low and the soft jazz in the background is soothing. Every thing is just right, including that slippery descriptor, atmosphere. Even the flatware and stemware are nice to the touch.