Update: Virtu is closed (with no explanation)! I noticed this on 3/17/2012. Sad day but I hope something else even more exciting comes in that space.

Friday night was my first stop on my unofficial Restaurant Week Columbia tour. I was going with a friend, and I let him choose between Mr. Friendly’s and Virtu. He chose the latter, and we walked in at 7:30 p.m. with no reservation and got seated immediately, which impressed me thoroughly. We perused the specials and I ordered a Stella because I didn’t want to be one of those people who ordered Bud Light in a fancy restaurant. We each chose a different appetizer and split them to maximize our efforts to taste as much as Virtu had to offer. His choice was the goat cheese bruschetta and mine was fried mozzerella ravioli with marinara sauce.

Again, we were in what I classify as a nice restaurant so I didn’t pull out the big honking camera with the flash, I just used my iPhone and the Instagram feature. My Facebook was buzzing with “Ooh what’s that? Where you at?” so it did an adequate job of capturing the essence of the meal at least!

The bruschetta was very good, but a bit hard to maneuver into my mouth. It was big, and I spilled tomato bits on the table trying to get it in my mouth. I normally don’t like raw tomatoes, but the balsamic vinegar reduction drizzled on top took the raw bite out of the tomatoes and made it palatable for me. The warm, gooey goat cheese was a great contrast to the crunch of the tomato and the crustiness of the bread.

The fried ravioli was my choice, and I preferred it over the bruschetta not only for the ease of navigating it into my mouth, but because it was a pocket of warm, melty cheese in a breaded shell. Basically, it was like a cheesestick, but in a wedge shape. I ate more than my fair share of these with no shame just in time for the salad,not pictured but still delicious.

Virtu did not have a vegetarian option listed on their prix fixe menu for the week, but they did agree to leave the shrimp off of a plate of Virtu pasta for me. Virtu pasta consists of (grilled shrimp), mushrooms, spinach, roasted red pepper cream sauce, angel hair pasta. If you know me, you know I hate mushrooms too, but I kicked those aside and enjoyed the rest of the dish. The red pepper cream sauce was perfect. It’s hard to find a good one of those, so if you’re in need of a red pepper cream sauce on pasta, head here for one! Despite the appetizers and salad, I was still able to house about 3/4 of this with no problem.

If I may horrify you with the wonderous expanding talents of my belly even further, I’d like to talk about this cake:

My friend wanted to try this cake despite everything else we’d already eaten, and since he was buying I couldn’t deny him. This cake is small for a reason. It’s rich times tres. The chocolate shell encases the cakey layers which are divided between the three types of milk used to make up this dish. If the slice was even a centimeter larger it would have been Just Too Much. So I ate all of this food, and drank my beer and a glass of water too. A trip to the bathroom was in order, and I saw this lovely chandelier in the ladies’ room that I just had to take a photo of.

It makes me want to put a pretty chandy in my bathroom so I have something to look at while I’m hanging out there for a while. Final thoughts on Virtu- the service was pleasant and easy, the atmosphere was elegant though it did get crowded the later it got into our dinner so go earlier for better seats and to lessen your wait time, and definitely try the dessert!

Virtu on Urbanspoon