Earlier this year in May, Per Se alum Christian Ramos and Loconda Verde vet Reed Adelson opened Virginia’s in Alphabet City together with sous chef Lauren Calhoun, they offer a seasonal menu with fresh ingredients putting a different spin on traditional dishes. The name of the restaurant honors both Ramos’s and Adelson’s mothers, both who happen to be named Virginia.
Turn the corner onto 11th Street to find this hidden gem. This small 38-seat restaurant is great as a romantic date spot but vibrant enough to accommodate a small, intimate group. Cozy up and take a seat at the bar to get a scoop on their best cocktails. Because their menu changes depending on the seasonality of ingredients, you can always come back to try their latest and greatest dishes.
The current menu has five small dishes and five larger plates, but also be on the lookout for their specials. We started out our meal with a glass of wine and the summer squash toast, one of their most popular appetizers. Also recommended is the grilled white shrimp with peaches and purple pole beans. We tried the off-menu appetizer special of the duck confit on walnut bread with a concord grape spread.
Their most popular entree dish is the sweet corn risotto, and we can easily tell why it is a crowd favorite. The balance of the okra, squash blossoms, and all of the vegetables gave the dish a variety of textures with creamy and vibrant flavors.
The hanger steak with Argentine chorizo is also another popular item for those wanting a hearty meat dish. Pair the steak with a side of the crushed potatoes with creme fraiches and chives. For seafood, it was a tough choice. Peeking over at a neighboring table, the diver scallops with ruby red grapefruit were giant and looked extremely decadent. I opted for the Altantic Striped Bass with cockles and new crop potatoes in a flavorful saffron broth.
For dessert, it was difficult choice deciding between the three options: raw honey panna cotta with blueberry compote on a rye biscotti; Tristar strawberries with sake poundcake and apricot granita; or profiteroles with white chocolate, cashews, and apple butter. We opted to share the profiteroles and the sweetness of the chocolate and apple butter paired nicely with the cubes of tangy apple. A fantastic end to a great meal.
We can’t wait to come back and try other inventive seasonal dishes!