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Extra Virgin, Across from Shirlington Cinema - Chef Rachid Amroune's Modern Italian - Closed


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I was cleaning off my desk and I found the unread Weekend section from last week's Wall STreet Journal. There is an article on the second page about outdoor dining and it mentions a place called Extra Virgin that has been open for about a week (two weeks by now) in Shirlington. It says that the cuisine is modern Italian and that signature dishs include house-made dig-and-fig confit sausage and a ricotta gnocchi with roasted lobster and rabe. Has anyone been yet. I can't seem to find anything about it on the web. It at least sounds interesting.

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From this week's "Ask Tom".........

Arlington, Va.: Any early intel on the new Shirlington haunt, Extra Virgin? I saw the WSJ gave it a plug. Since you probably haven't been, any chatters who have gone?

Thanks.

Tom Sietsema: The place seems disorganized.

Earlier this week:

Would-be diner: Are you open for lunch this week?

Receptionist at Extra Virgin: Um, um, I'm not sure.

Would-be diner: Could you ask someone who might know?

Receptionist: Hold on.

Male voice: We aren't sure if we'll be serving lunch this week. We're still training the crew.

Would-be diner: Should I call back later this week then?

Male voice: Yes, we'll know by then.

HUH?

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My wife and I went a couple of weeks ago and our experience pretty much mirrored that of Tom. The food was OK - the dishes I ordered were better than my wife's. My wife started with the house salad which was pretty nondescript with a bland dressing. Her entree was the seafood pasta which she did not care for at all. I also started with the salad (wish I could remember what it was) that had orange segments and a lemon infused olive oil and the ricotta and lobster (or was it crab) ravioli in a butter-sage sauce. My dishes were fine. I really enjoyed the flavors in the salad and the pasta had plenty of sweet lobster meat the balance with the ricotta was perfect but it was bland. I almost never add salt to a dish - the chef usually gets it right but boy this could have used it. The real high point for me was a decent sourdough bread on the table (so hard to find on this coast).So the food overall -OK but not worth the price. The wine list was fine - didn't strike me as anything outstanding but they did have the red sparking wine that I first had at 2 Amys. The service though was pretty rough - not just ours but people around us as well. The servers seemed very unsure of themselves, could not explain menu items, brought out dishes out of order (entrees before apps, etc.) and just generally unpolished. Now I have never worked in the industry so I generally don't criticize service but in this case it was just not where it should be for the prices they charge and for the type of atmosphere they are trying to pull off. I may be willing to try it once more in a few months and hope they have the kinks worked out. Just my 2 cents.

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I have had the displeasure of eating there on two occations. Each time, the service was pretty bad and the server having little if any knowledge of the food. The pizza I got, was not the one I ordered. When I brought this to the attention of the manager, he replied that the chef likes to add items to the pizza on his own whim.. I asked why even bother having a menu if the chef is going to decide what you want to eat..a blank stare from him was my answer. The check was brought before I asked for it and the waiter stood there waiting for me to pay...this was at 3:30 on a saturday afternoon on the patio, so I let him wait. My opinion is that this place will close by April with any luck.

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I've eaten there once and will not do so again. Service was horrible. Entrees brought at different times, server complaining to us about his boss, food was bland and it was impossible to order more drinks (waiter kept "forgetting" to bring more wine). We actually got better service when we went next door to Bungaloo Billiards (a divey pool bar).

As a side note -- our waiter came into billiards place later. He got fired. He proceeded to get increasingly intoxicated and told anyone who would talk to him about his prison time. I saw him a few weeks ago -- waiting tables at Acadiana. Can't wait to see how long that lasts!

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The pizza I got, was not the one I ordered. When I brought this to the attention of the manager, he replied that the chef likes to add items to the pizza on his own whim..

Now THAT'S funny...sounds like something out of a Python sketch :lol::P

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I had lunch at Extra Virgin yesterday, and I have to say: it wasn't bad. They have an addictive olive puree/olive oil dipping sauce, with splendid bread. The rest of the food was average: fried calamari, a kind of weird celery soup, and orichiette with sausage and rabe (except tagatelle with bolognese, which was rich, and splendid and housemade).

I have to give a shout-out to the service. Mr. Beezy and I went late, on a Monday lunch, and there was only one other party in the restaurant. This is usually an excuse to ignore everyone and spend time getting ready for dinner. However, our waiter was attentive, and made suggestions about food and wine. When Mr. Beezy didn't eat his calamari, the waiter not only asked, but comped it, as well as bought us a dessert. (He didn't fuss, or anything, either - just politely said that the calamari was not what he liked.)

I know we argue a lot about how comping has gotten ridiculous, but I was impressed by the fact that this restaurant that doesn't have the best food reputation tried so hard to please. The waiter and the manager seemed genuinely interested that we have a good experience at lunch. That's gotten hard to find in this city....

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I agree with beezy. I went for a late Saturday lunch with about 20 family members. I was highly skeptical, and I had recommended we go somewhere else. They were happy to have us, and the service was good. It's hard to serve 20 people, and I believe it is actually harder when the rest of the place is empty. The kitchen gets crushed all at once. Everything came out as ordered in pretty good time. The dipping sauce was good as was the bread. I had veal ravioli that were good, but my wife's panini was a disappointment--it never saw the press. All in all, I think that it is by no means great, but fine. The choices on that strip are each with their shortcomings, even Carlyle, so in some ways Extra Virgin fits right in.

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I had my 3 year old daughter with me tonight and let her pick dinner after we finished running errands. She wanted spaghetti and meatballs. We were near Shirlington already and although I had never dined at Extra Virgin, I assumed (incorrectly) they would have a kid's menu and certainly the desired dish would be on their menu...it's an Italian place in family-friendly Shirlington, right?!

As we were walked to our table, I realized by the decor and table settings, that certainly this restaurant wasn't set up to be a kid-friendly enviroment. The servers were dressed neatly with pressed shirts and sharp ties. The bread plates were tinted glass. The dining room was aglow with candlelight and the place definitely had a "date night" vibe to it. (Nothing too fancy--just not what I was expecting.)

I thought about leaving as I felt a little out of place, but as those of you with hungry children know, that's just not an option when your kid is hungry and you're already inside a restaurant.

My feelings were put to ease immediately by our server, Brandon. He was only too happy to offer that while they didn't have a kid's menu, they could easily put together anything my girl wanted. (They didn't have meatballs, but they were easily able to take the bolognese from the lasagna and toss it with spaghetti. Their bolognese had such large pieces of ground meat, that it was close enough for her.)

When I requested that he serve her a watered-down juice, he accomodated without even a second thought. They had a plastic cup with a straw & lid for her drink. When I requested that while I wanted my lasagna piping hot, I wanted hers to be much cooler. (Restaurants usually send out kid's food as hot as any adult's, so you spend the first 5-7 minutes of your meal blowing off your child's food and letting yours cool on the table, going untouched.) He obliged graciously and ensured that the kitchen did as I requested.

A different server dropped by our table twice just to goof around with my kid. I had a feeling he either had kids of his own or at least some nieces or nephews close to the age of 3. He was a fun distraction for the little one and certainly helped us feel comfortable being there.

I wish I could have liked the food more, but it was just average unfortunately. Certainly not bad. Just not very good.

Regardless, I won't think twice about going there again and supporting the business and the servers.

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Still open?

Northern Virginia Magazine reported yesterday that La Tagliatella will replace it. (There's already a La Tagliatella scheduled to open on April 1 in the former 3 Bar and Grill location in Clarendon.)

I had JUST been given a $100 gift card to Extra Virgin by a well-intentioned family friend. What happens in these situations? I guess this gift card is now officially worth $0.

The ArlNow article Sthitch linked to above says, "Said another social media post: “Restaurant items for sale. Call 202-256-0444. Everything must go!!” I don't know who's at that number. They also have a Facebook page. Obviously they have financial problems, but maybe it's worth calling that number or contacting them on Facebook to see if there's any chance for a refund.

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