Posted by: lisetta | July 3, 2008

Le Virtu II

Heading out from University City around 8:30 pm, we arrived only to wait for our two top at the bar.  This restaurant is fabulous. Really. So happy to see that the place was full just a few months after finding it nearly empty on a weekend night. 

While the autumnal menu fared on the heavy side, our choices were quick and easy: affetato misto, spaghetti alla chitarra with lamb ragù, and fazzoletti with braised duck and beef ragù. We drank Barbera, a light bodied Piemontese red. 

Our waiter insisted the lamb ragu was the best the restaurant had, then revealed its secret: lamb shoulder braised twice, in white and red wines, over several hours. Its depth of flavor didn’t disappoint:

We both preferred, however, the fazzoletti with braised duck and beef ragu, a much lighter dish more about the pasta than the sauce:

Neither of these ill-lit pictures do the dishes justice. Creating these nuanced flavors requires techniques true to the slow food ideals. Brilliant executions of simple classics are quite rare on the Philly Italian scene, IMHO. I’m sure glad Le Virtu has arrived, and sincerely hope it sticks around for many years to come. I wish we had this in our neighborhood!

Steve gave it a 9 out of 10, even before it induced what he calls “a gastronomically upscale version of pizza dreams“. I have no reservations in granting it a 10: fabulous food and friendly service in an inviting atmosphere. My luck to have shared it tonight with fascinating company. I’m not sure what else I could ask for.

*My colleague Lisa knows what more I could ask for: better light in the photos! Ha ha. She’s photoshopped them:

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