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My Night at Virgola with the Girl in the Red Dress

Enjoying chemistry, cocktails and bivalves at Virgola’s in the West Village, NYC


[Photo: Virgola]

As a sucker for poetic nostalgia (as well as cleverly crafted cocktails & raw bivalves), I feel that a review of this place would be appropriate, as 2015 may have been the tastiest year to date for yours truly; this was a year that truly was salty, bitter, & sweet…

And the tastes and memories associated with this dark narrow corridor that served as a candlelit staging ground (in retrospect) can be attributed those very same descriptors.


[Photo: Virgola]

It was September 29th, and though it was well past summer’s twilight, the seasonal shift was barely noticeable; the same could be said for fall and winter this year, as autumn looked to make December its own. In any event, I had arrived a few minutes early, just a splash past a quarter of the sixth hour in the afternoon; much to my relief, a quick peak inside revealed that there was not a seat taken despite it being so late in the day.

Word on the street was that this place was tiny, so seating, of course, came at a premium.


[Photo: Virgola]

Luckily, my brisk walk didn’t go to waste, she arrived right behind me shortly thereafter. Yelp red was the color of the dress, and she was wearing an infinitely more comfortable amount of material than I was, especially when considering the heat (where wearing less equates to “more comfortable”  in this instance).

We were quickly seated upon exchange of pleasantries, and a cozy little booth in the middle of the hall was where we’d ultimately spend the next few hours in each other’s company.

Oysters were the agreed upon fare of choice for the night.

(Photo: Village Voice)

[Photo: Village Voice]

This was established well before the occurrence of whatever kind of rendezvous this was (maybe subjective differences as between the parties, depending on which side of the booth one sat in; to my credit though, I gave advanced expressed notice as to my intent/expectations). Either way, while bivalves were sampled, the diet of the night was more of the liquid variety, and between the two of us, by night’s end we sampled a healthy amount of the cocktails available. Was it mutual alcoholism? A means to cut certain tension and “hydrate” chemistry? Or was it legitimately interesting banter between two intellectual contemporaries, which, in turn, fueled our need for a little refreshment? As a wellspring of answers, I’m at a loss for one at the moment.

A couple of the standouts were the Balsamic Bloody Mary and the Virgola Cocktail.

(Photo: Jacqueline Raposo, Serious Eats)

Virgola cocktail with gin, tomato water, and squid ink [Photo: Jacqueline Raposo, Serious Eats]

Both novel in their own right, and the menu description does far more justice in breaking down what’s in them (and with more efficiency, I would imagine). I’m sure I had a gin and tonic (or two) as well. A more detailed recollection eludes me, though this speaks volumes as to the stiffness of the cocktails consumed.

We paired our cocktails with 3 dozen oysters through the course of the night. I’m not an oyster novice by any stretch, but her knowledge rendered me an amateur. No problems on my end giving deference to more knowledgeable minds. High preemptive marks were attributed to the west coast selection prior to our chance to taste them, so our 36 bivalves were primarily of the “best” coast variety.

The Kumamotos stood out for their umami aftertaste, but I recall that all the oysters that were sampled that night were pleasant and briny.


[Photo: inahalfshell.com]

After some deliberate oyster consumption and serious cocktail guzzling, it was past midnight, and we were the only ones left in the place. Was it the sheer magnetism of the joint, and our mutual appreciation for booze and raw seafood that kept our asses glued to the cushions of our booth? Or was it something more mushy, the kind of sh*t you’d read in some awkward “friend fiction???” Although there are many lingering questions (the “how abouts” and the “what ifs”) that stir in the brain pan, although less frequently with every minute that passes, it’s good to know that there’s no question about Virgola. The answer is a resounding “Hell yes!”

The date place to go:
28 Greenwich Ave
b/t Charles St & 10th St
West Village
Virgola also has locations at 111 East 7th Street (East Village) and 221 Avenue B (Alphabet City)
“I know words… I have the best words【==】”

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Also published on Medium.

date nightnew york cityoysterswine bar

Joshua Versoza • September 30, 2016

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