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Le Virtu - better than ever

We had a wonderful dinner at Le Virtu this weekend. The chef there - Joe C, because I don't remember his last name - is truly talented.

I brought home a copy of the menu so that I could give an accurate description of what we ate.

Appetizers:
I had the Burrata pugliese - imported Pugliese burrata, charred scallions.
Husband had the Salsiccia nosstrana alla griglia - house-made Abruzze-style sausage, polenta, peperonata.
Mine was very good; his was fabulous.

Entrees:
He had his favorite, Taccozzelleall'aquilana - handerchief pasta, Abruzze-style sausage, porcini, black truffle, Navelli saffron.
I had a new menu addition, the Caramelle di faraona - pheasant-filled ravioli, ppioppini mushrooms, Gala apples, rosemary, pecorino.
Both were outstanding.

Dessert: we shared the pear/apple crostada with Mascarpone gelato - very good, but not memorable. Next time I'll try something else.

Our dinner, including tax and two drinks (but not tip) came to $104.00.

If Le Virtu were in New York, this dinner would have cost many times as much.

Service was excellent; noise level was moderate.

We go to many very good Italian restaurants, but this one is in a class by itself. Long live Le Virtu!

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  1. That's good to hear, I haven't been there in a while thanks to a sub-par meal there several months back. Maybe I'll give it another shot one of these days.

    1. I find their best offerings are the appetizers and the pasta dishes, as you ordered (that sausage appetizer is VERY good). I have not been overwhelmed by their non-pasta entrees.

        1. Thanks Sylvia. Your reviews are always very informative.

          1. I need to get back there. And soon!

            1. I was going to go this week, but chef is on his honeymoon in Italy if social media is to be believed, so I might reschedule.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Bigley9

                How did you find that out?
                I follow a couple of food people on twitter, but didn't get that info.

                  1. re: Buckethead

                    Also been on Le Virtue's Facebook page

                1. re: Bigley9

                  Darn, have a res for tonight with 2 other couples. Hope it will be just as good. It's so hard to find a time in the first place when everyone is available.

                  1. re: middleagedfoodie

                    I don't know why everyone is making such a big deal out of this. Even when the chef is in his restaurant, most of the work is done by the rest of the staff in the kitchen anyway. If you did not know this going in, I bet you would never have known the difference after the meal.

                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      Normally I'd agree with that, but I've had problems with consistency at Le Virtu in the past. Even if the chef is normally not fully involved in cooking every dish, they're around to approve the dishes before they go out to the diners. When they're not around, quality can slip (at any restaurant). I don't know if the fluctuations in quality I've seen at LV over the years are due to this or not, but with the chef and pastry chef on vacation it's something to consider. I wouldn't recommend canceling a reservation or anything, but I would be interested in hearing middleagedfoodie's report.

                      1. re: Buckethead

                        Since I've never been to Le Virtu before, I don't know if our dinner was up to Joe Cicala's standards, but we all thought it was pretty good. There were a lot of interesting appetizers but the group wanted to get 2 orders of the antipasti for the table, so we fell into step. It consisted of various sausages and cured and uncured meats, a few marinated vegetables, some toasted bread and thinly sliced lard which I suppose was meant to be spread on the bread. I tasted it and I don't think it added anything to the plate. All of the meats on the platter were good, but not any better than those I've had at Garces Trading Company or Zavinos or even DiBrunos.

                        My husband and I shared one pasta and one main. The pasta was a special, a homemade fettucine with shredded duck - very rich and flavorful. The other dish, rabbit, done porquetta style, was also flavorful, but too dry. The saving grace was the delicious lentils that came with the rabbit. We ordered a side of broccoli rabe. It was properly cooked, but nothing out of the ordinary.

                        One of our party selected both bottles of wine, so I did not even see the wine list. The first, which we drank with the antipasti was a Montepulciana d'Abruzzi. It was fairly full bodied and spicy enough to pair well with that course. I think it was about $60. The 2nd was a Barbara. This one was much lighter. It was OK with our pasta and rabbit, but it's hard for me to evaluate a lighter wine after going through a fuller bodied one.

                        My husband and I shared an interesting dessert - a green tomato crostata with gelato. It is a very crisp kind of pie, more like a French style tart. It was delicious, but the crust was almost too hard to break with a fork.

                        I might go back just with my husband so we could order exactly what we want, however, Osteria, which is in around the same price range is a little better, always has to die for choices and I love their wine list.

                2. I added Joe Cicala to my Twitter feed. Thanks, all.