Virtu Restaurant, located at 3701 North Marshall Way, opened four years ago in 2013. That same year they were named Best New Restaurants in America by Esquire Magazine and they have also received a James Beard nomination. I thought I needed to check out the place and see for myself.
Located in Old Town Scottsdale on the lower floor of the old Bespoke Inn (a modest hotel), is a cozy, homey and unpretentious restaurant. Not much on decor, white walls, wooden furniture, a bar in the back, next to a partially open kitchen. The restaurant holds 38 inside, including the bar. I much prefer the outdoor patio/courtyard that holds about 50. Request a table in the courtyard and not one facing the street. The area is picturesque, with lots of trees, and twinkle lights – lovely for a date night.
The chef is Gio Osso. He focuses on Mediterranean cuisine with global influences and changes up the menu often. The menu is divided into crafty small bites, craft of pasta and craft of the plate. I was personally disillusioned with some of the dishes. The presentations were handsome enough but the final results were disappointing. For instance, the burrata, done in a peperonata jam, fresh herb insalata, with crispy capers and olives had a nice presentation but the burrata should be oozing milk and be gloriously creamy, and theirs was not. The asparagus with duck egg, feta crumbles, bacon candy, foie gras hollandaise, in a truffle drizzle sounded amazing, but the ends of the stalks were tough and not properly trimmed. I didn’t see or taste any foie gras hollandaise or truffle of any kind. Our mains were better, in fact, the notable exception was my smoked duck with a verjus braised Tuscan kale, walnuts and farro, roasted grapes and a blue cheese crumble was a standout. The duck was perfectly cooked and very flavourful and tender. The bucatini pasta in a squid ink, tuna conserva, pancetta, preserved lemon, English peas, tomato and ricci crema was also appealing.
They featured many boutique wines, and many poured by the glass. I was happy to see a Paul Hobbs Pinot by the glass, and a great Chardonnay from Sonoma, but the pours were stingy. When I am paying $16 for a glass I would like a 6oz pour not a 3-4 oz pour. The bar was also sending out some very unique a creative craft cocktails as well as non-alcoholic drinks.
For dessert, I had a butterscotch budino and my husband had a dry olive oil and lemon cake.
So I was a little surprised to hear of the restaurants well-known reputation when most of our meal was underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it is a cute neighbourhood spot, with pretty sound respectable food, it just wasn’t anything to rave about.