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Virago, an Asian Fusion Experience in Nashville

by Angela Roberts on April 10, 2013

 Post edit: I wrote this post yesterday and last night attended Nashville’s Iron Fork where Chef Jessica Benefield competed against three other excellent contenders and won. I watched Chef Jessica diligently at work with the secret ingredient, maple syrup, and I had a feeling she was the one to beat. Congratulations Chef Jessica, just one more reason to go and see why people talk about Virago so much.

Virago isn’t the only place to get sushi in Nashville, but it’s the only place to get the Virago experience.

As soon as you approach Virago, you know you’re stepping into something that was designed with great intention to be one of those places that makes you go ooo and ahhh upon entry. The lanterns over the bar area are exceptional design, only spoiled (more on this later) by the flat screen TV.

But let’s put that aside. I loved the food, the service and the decor at Virago.

Virago

Cocktails are only $6 before 7:00 and we slid in just in time. I had a wasabi martini and it was so much better than I anticipated. That will be my drink of choice on my next visit.

Virago has two kitchens, a sushi kitchen and a chef’s kitchen. The food will be delivered as soon as it is ready, so I advise ordering a dish or two at a time with that in mind.

We ordered three rolls which were delicious, but the priciest, the katana, at $22 was without a doubt the best sushi roll of my life. Yes, $22 is a bit pricey for a sushi roll, but this delivers. Each piece has lobster tempura and then alternately, it is topped with either, scallop, tuna, shrimp or salmon.

Virago by Angela Roberts

KATANA
lobster tempura, bell pepper, jalapeño, and avocado topped with tuna, shrimp, fresh salmon and scallop tartare with ginger-orange sauce

Virago by Angela Roberts

THE BOMB
tempura shrimp, avocado, asparagus on the inside, baked jumbo lump crab and spicy mayo on top with a touch of unagi sauce and scallions

Virago

Crazy Monkey
Eel, jalapeño, mango, avocado, cashews, mango vinaigrette, unagi sauce

The Bomb at $19 and the Crazy Monkey at $11 were great starters, and I’m glad we led up to the Katana because it’s a show stopper.

After three rolls, we switched over the Chef’menu. We ordered a gulf pink shrimp with amazu ponzu from the Robatayaki selection. Robatayaki means barbecued slowly under fire, on skewers in such a way that the shrimp are very tender. The shrimp were tasty and wonderfully, just cooked.

Virago by Angela Roberts


Chef Menu
ROBATAYAKI
GULF PINK SHRIMP
amazu ponzu

It’s hard to beat wagyu ribeye, but the next selection we ordered was amazing. We cooked the pieces of meat on the hot stone, by dipping in the oil and cooking 2 seconds on each side.

Virago by Angela Roberts

STONED STEAK FILET 24 / WAGYU RIBEYE
hot rocks, yuzu koshō vinaigrette, spicy peanut sauce

Virago

I never feel satisfied if I don’t have at least one green dish and the green beans were delightful. Crispy, flavorful, not too salty, and balanced out the meat perfectly. Please do order the green beans; you will be happy about it.

Virago by Angela Roberts

Szechuan Green Beans

There were so many other items we wanted to try so we will be returning. The lobster tacos, the duck eggrolls, or  the salt and pepper shrimp might be next.

Back to that flat screen TV. I’m not picking on Virago. All the upscale restaurants in Nashville seemed to have joined the ranks of lowering the quality of ambiance for the few bar customers who have to watch a ball game. But I noticed on the website that Virago’s has  a dress code, which discourages sports fan attire.


Somehow this dress code which is fairly strict for laid back Nashville is  a bit incongruent with the big glaring screen.

Everyone we’ve dined with agrees with me. Not every fine restaurant needs to double as a sports bar.   I think of all the thought and creativity that went into those lanterns and I’m sure that the guys that needed to watch basketball would be fine over at Whiskey Kitchen or one of my favorites, the Tavern.

We enjoyed the Virago experience and the service was great, as our server was very helpful and attentive. The atmosphere lent itself to good conversation and I recommend Virago highly for business dinners.

I think if you love dining out and especially if you love Asian Fusion, Virago is a Nashville must try.

Virago on Urbanspoon
Virago on Foodio54

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

The Duo Dishes April 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm

You make a good point about nice restaurants with a tinge of sports bar vibe. It can detract from a lovely meal if there’s a big game and folks are hollering up a storm. It looks like you had a great dinner regardless. The beans look delicious, and the Bomb roll looks like a winner.

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Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! April 13, 2013 at 10:05 am

One of these days I will pay Nashville a visit…its on the list…when ready I will let you know….I am so hungry now…

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