Debby Wolvos

Virtu Honest Craft

Gio Osso's Italian food isn't afraid to reach beyond the boot, or even beyond the Mediterranean. His frequently changing menu has offered rib-eye with chimichurri and smoked swordfish belly with chorizo. But the bulk of the plates at this white-tablecloth restaurant on the edge of downtown Scottsdale are anchored in far southern Italy, though filtered through the New Jersey native's learned, slightly playful culinary mind. There are handmade pastas, hand-shaped gnocchi. There are ingredients like the Italian green barba de frate, tender and wild under crisp-skinned branzino. There are flights of obscure, ferocious amari. There are Calabrian chiles, blood-red egg yolks given by chickens fed red peppers, and bowls of pork ragu utterly astounding and wholly comforting in their long-stewed, homey depths. Virtu is a place for somebody who prefers more formal dining, who thinks they've eaten all the Italian food there is, or who simply wants a reliably damn good meal. It is also an underrated destination for drinks. A deep wine list has some nice regional Italian finds by the glass. The bar manages to make even a vodka cocktail — the Ice Queen — interesting, thanks to strawberry-white-balsamic shrub, Champagne foam, and black pepper. You can fly high with tartare and steak. You can plunge into the sea with lemon-tahini scallops or a blackened octopus that has become one of the town's classics. Best of all, you can noodle with great pasta.

Restaurant Details