On an incredibly stormy Sunday evening we headed to Old Town to try a newish restaurant to join the Cathal Armstrong mini-empire. The reviews I've seen online have been a bit underwhelming, although the power of yelp allows semi-anonymous ordinary restaurant patrons exert an unduly deserved degree of power over the image and reputation of restaurants. In complete honesty, we went to Virtue because one of my boyfriend's closest friends started to work there. A former Ollson's bookstore location, the 2-level space is really striking with distressed wood, windows, hanging window seats and even a backroom game area.
We sat in a hanging window seat with a low table. Aesthetically pleasing, the table was a bit low for dining but perfect for snacks and drinks.
A Manhattan and special drink of the day, frozen Pina Colada.
Farmhouse cheese plate.
Cashel Blue, Point Reyes and goat cheese.
The cheese was a nice mixture of taste and textures, but the bread was not the best accompaniment. Wish there was some sort of chutney or fig or fruit spread to counteract the taste of the cheese.
Fried calamari with spicy remoulade sauce.
Nicely cooked and loved the dipping sauce.
Special of the night, slow-roasted pork.
The pork meat was pulled from different areas, was very delicious with a rich and savory pork jus.
The one downside was the waitress who told us the specials refrained from also mentioning the price, which was almost $10 more than the regular entrees.
Side of Black-Eyed Peas mixed with pork jus.
The breading on the okra was greaseless, which was surprising since our waiter told us these were deep fried and not oven baked like I initially thought. I really enjoyed these and the okra was a nice contrast to the pork and black eyed peas.
Smoked Haddock Chowder
Really beautiful presentation and a nice array of seafood including mussels, shrimp, smoked haddock, clams and salmon bites. The problem with the shallow bowl and artful arrangement was the temperature of the broth.
It's a great space, the servers are eager to be helpful although I'm sure there are improvements that will naturally happen as the staff settles in. The menu's a bit difficult to navigate if you're a vegetarian or unsure of what a "Pope's Lunch" or "Shaggers Pie" includes. It's also an unusual mixture of Irish and American dishes. I'm not quite sure what engendered the array of negative reviews, but again that's part of the issue I have with yelp.