If you haven't been to Virtú Honest Craft in Scottsdale yet, you might want to make reservations soon. The tiny, wonderful cafe from chef-owner Gio Osso has been tapped by Esquire magazine's restaurant features writer John Mariani as one of this year's Best New Restaurants.
In the announcement, Virtú shares the spotlight with new restaurants around the country such as Betony in New York City (which Mariani dubbed Restaurant of the Year), Trois Mec in Los Angeles, and Nashville's Rolf and Daughters.
Here's what Mariani had to say about Virtú:
"I've long admired the inventive southwestern cooking of chef Gio Osso, and now, with just twenty-five seats at Virtù, he's proven himself one of America's finest interpreters of Mediterranean food -- though he adds some Arizona swagger.
It's always obvious when a chef cooks what he himself loves to eat, and Osso does, turning out inspired dishes like grilled orata (a fish also known as bream) coated with lemon-oregano crumbs and sided with a Calabrese peperonata that has a scorpion's bite. He makes his own cream-centered burrata and tomato marmalade, whips fat-mottled mortadella into a puree for spreading on smoky country bread, and reduces cherries, hazelnuts, and chocolate to make a sour-sweet gianduja sauce to lavish on his smoked duck.
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If you can't decide what to order, then drop in for Outspoken Hour, from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M., when Osso offers smaller versions of dishes from the regular menu, at $4 to $6, so you can get a taste of most everything. Every restaurant should do this."
To see Esquire magazine's list of 2013's Best New Restaurants in its entirety, visit the website.