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Virtue Restaurant - Hyde Park

Virtue Restaurant - Hyde Park
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  • Virtue Restaurant - Hyde Park

    Post #1 - May 1st, 2022, 9:32 am
    Post #1 - May 1st, 2022, 9:32 am Post #1 - May 1st, 2022, 9:32 am
    Mrs Willie & I enjoy watching the show Top Chef. This year's Houston season has a local Chicago area chef Damarr Brown doing well. Chef Brown is Chef De Cuisine at Virtue.

    We normally go out to restaurants on weekday evenings instead of "amateur" hour Fri/Sat nights. This said, we had a Steppenwolf Saturday matinee performance and the timing worked perfectly for an early Sat night dinner at Virtue. Virtue was hopping the entire time we were there, busy busy.

    We arrived early for our reservation and took a seat at the bar area which has a great cocktail list. Mrs Willie enjoyed strawberry fields forever! cocktail, a good choice indeed. In chatting with the bartenders and some folks next to us who have been to Virtue a number of times, we came up with quite a list of choices, thankfully we came hungry.

    Our starters:
    gem lettuce w/egg, tomato, ranch dressing, crispy black eyed peas. The ratio of dressing to salad was so key to this dish, we both were amazed at how good this relatively simple sounding salad could be.

    green tomatoes w/gulf shrimp, leroy's remoulade. Some big beautiful shrimp over non greasy fried green tomatoes w/a tasty remoulade, what's not to love? (I only wished for a thicker sliced tomato)

    duck liver w/strawberry preserves, fermented greens, hoe cakes. The fermented greens were amazing, tart, bitter, some heat, so good. Duck liver was dark and delicious, I thought the hoe cakes would overwhelm the liver mousse but the liver flavor was strong so no issues.

    shrimp & marsh hen stone-ground grits. Spot on dish, everything about this dish we loved.

    catfish - blackened, "carolina gold" rice, barbeque carrots. The carrots were incredible, I'm a carrot fan but when carrot hater Mrs Willie kept poaching my carrots, I knew these were extra special. I really enjoy catfish and these filet were great quality/flavor, when the blackening seasoning was not as heavy this dish sung. The only downside was I felt too much seasoning at times and I normally love strong seasoning.

    We enjoyed our meal and will for certain return.

    Virtue Restaurant
    1462 E 53rd ST
    Chicago, IL 60615
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #2 - June 19th, 2022, 6:10 pm
    Post #2 - June 19th, 2022, 6:10 pm Post #2 - June 19th, 2022, 6:10 pm
    Whew. Hey there! Inspired by JiminLoganSquare's ode to Sabatino's, I will report briefly that we had a delightful meal at Virtue a couple weeks back, in town for a quick work trip.

    I got the catfish dish mentioned directly above, and also found it terrific. Didn't even have the spicing inconsistency in my book. Sides were wonderful too....corn bread, mac and cheese, collards. This place is catty corner from our old (20 years now, weird) apartment at 53rd and Harper, and it was a treat to recall some southern staples of the erstwhile Dixie Kitchen. I loved that place too; Virtue was quite a bit more refined. I've hit that corner a few times in the intervening years and the transformation is considerable, but I was sad to see this time that the former Binny's/Chalet, where I learned the ins and outs of cheesemongering in grad school from Paul Clyne, was shuttered. Stalwarts like Ragin' Cajun and Villa Capri still seemed to be going strong.

    Kind of surprised there's not more chatter around this place, but hey...I'm hardly in a position to chide someone for not posting enough :)