There are few things that attract me more than "vegetables take center stage", a tasting menu considered "a steal at €75" and the idea of a chef couple (Japanese and Argentina) guided by top training at Mirazur who still personally cook in the kitchen.
This is why we were drawn to Restaurant Virtus in Paris, which was described as such in the Michelin Guide (which also gives it 1 star, "high quality cooking, worth a stop!").
Founded by chefs Chiho Kanzaki and Marcelo Martin di Giacomo, a Japanese and Argentinian couple who met and trained at Mirazur, Virtus embodies influences from both regions, as well as all over the world. Currently, chef Frédéric Lorimier and Camille Gouyer (front of the house) run the establishment.
Our meal began with a number of small "amuse" bites, starting with this delightful and refreshing peas tart.
Fish roe on top of cracker "pillows".
Nothing beats bread in France, and these freshly baked brioche rolls were crusty and delicious.
There was definitely some Japanese influence in this next course of amberjack, horseradish, yuzu rice, roasted red pepper, and radish.
The texture of the rice was excellent, and I loved the flavor of the soy vinaigrette.
The next course was a charred piece of artichoke served with confit tomatoes, a touch of lemon, basil, and a hard, salty cheese.
It came with a very flavorful artichoke sauce which was poured tableside.
Fish + Meat
The first "main course" was a seared white fish served with fresh peas, clam, and morel mushrooms. The flavor combination was perfect, the fish was super tender, and overall it was very well executed. Perhaps nothing particularly novel or super creative, but just very, very good.
The final meat course was pigeon, a classic but served with a delicious liver sauce. They even left the container of liver sauce so we could have more of it if we wanted.
The Cheese Course
Cheese is always a treat in Paris. We had 36-month aged comte, a goat cheese, a smoked cheese, and a blue cheese.
A refreshing lemony sorbet (served in its own "shell") was our palate cleanser.
Our dessert was an unusual combinatino of fresh strawberries, strawberry sorbet, and celery (!).
We ended the meal with a shot of apple calvados.
Restaurant Virtus - General Thoughts
Virtus is a lovely restaurant that serves well-executed food in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Excellent execution, warm service, and overall we had a very nice evening. There's nothing groundbreaking in terms of flavors, but the food is very, very good.
We pre-booked a tasting meal so we were able to enjoy the special €75 price. At the time of this article (March 2023), the lunch tasting menu starts at €50 for 3 courses, while the dinner tasting menus are €100 for 5 courses and €135 for 7 courses. I'm not sure if those special prices we had enjoyed back in 2022 will be available anymore, now that we are this "post-pandemic" (not to mention rocky financial) world right now.
One item of caution: the restaurant is located near the bustling Aligre Market (a lovely food shopping destination) in an area normal Ubers are not allowed to drive (they will be fined). Our driver dropped us off a few blocks away and we had to walk to the restaurant. Similarly, when leaving the restaurant, our Uber driver picked us up a few blocks away.
Here is a REEL video that I made of our meal, which just gives you a different perspective and feel of the meal.
Restaurant Virtus Paris
29 RUE DE COTTE 75012 PARIS
09 80 68 08 08