Favorite Dishes #54: The Virgola Platter at Virgola


Virgola (28 Greenwich Avenue; no phone) is the kind of special spot you don’t want to praise too loudly — a minuscule 60-by-6-foot space (and half of that’s the kitchen); a dark, romantic alley that won’t fit too many of your friends. Fortunately, it has enough room for oysters: around 2,500 of them weekly, which is no small feat for a joint with only seven tiny tables. At only a buck each, even the most cash-strapped wanderer can fill up heartily. But if you’re willing to shell out a bit more ($50), the Virgola Platter is the way to go — get ready to impress the person squeezing in next to you.

The platter comes grandly presented on an elevated tray: A dozen of the day’s oysters on a bed of crushed ice, along with a few wedges of lemon, a house-made cocktail sauce with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, fresh horseradish, and a champagne vinegar mignonette are ready for miniature forks, but the mollusks are so fresh that you might just want to slurp them down naked.

The plate is rounded out with an accompanying fluke ceviche, with chunks of whitefish, mango, finely diced peppers and red onion, fresh herbs and a simple tuna avocado tartare, and a few gigantic, extremely fresh shrimp. Wash it all down with a bottle of Virgola’s prosecco or spumante rosé — both bracingly crisp and bottled by Drusian — and you’re good to go.

The Village Voice is counting down to our Best of New York City issue in October. We’re combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10. To read about previous dishes, browse our 100 Favorite Dishes page.

Here’s our countdown up to now:
#100: Laminated Blueberry Brioche at Dominique Ansel Kitchen
#99: Egg Shop’s Golden Bucket Fried Chicken
#98: Ramen Lab’s Torigara Shoyu
#97: Cannoli at Ferdinando’s
#96: Breakfast Sandwich at Dimes
#95: Banana Royal at Eddie’s Sweet Shop
#94: Fletcher’s Burnt Ends
#93: Almayass’s Mante
#92: Empellon Taqueria’s Fish Taco
#91: El Rey’s Sardine Tostada
#90: General Tso’s Pig’s Head at the Cannibal
#89: The Vegetarian at Meat Hook Sandwich Shop
#88: The 21 Club’s Creamy Chicken Hash
#87: Deep-Fried Olives at Via Carota
#86: Pougi at Loi Estiatorio
#85: Pearl & Ash’s Smoked Bread with Chicken Butter
#84: Gluten-Free Pizza at Rossopomodoro
#83: Perry St’s Chocolate Pudding With Candied Violets
#82: Whit’s End’s ‘Fuckin’ Bluefish Dip’
#81: Morgenstern’s Salt and Pepper Pine Nut Ice Cream
#80: Levain Bakery’s Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie
#79: Delmar Pizzeria’s Pizza
#78: Cafe Cluny’s Avocado Toast
#77: Brooklyn Star’s Cinnamon Bun
#76: Pork Belly Cotton Candy at Carnem
#75: Ippudo’s Pork Buns
#74: Mission Chinese Food’s Oil-Cured Anchovies
#73: Johnnycakes at LoLo’s Seafood Shack
#72: The Starving Artists Steak at Belle Reve
#71: The Spotted Pig’s Gnudi
#70: Xi’an Famous Foods’ Tiger Vegetable Salad
#69: Crème Brûlée Truffle at Kee’s Chocolates
#68: Pok Pok’s Muu Paa Kham Wong
#67: Cacio e Pepe at Upland
#66: Pulpo at Toro
#65: Junior’s Something Different
#64: Duck Carnitas at Cosme
#63: Banana Miso Ice Cream Sandwich at Neta
#62: Breads Bakery’s Chocolate Babka
#61: Braised Lamb Neck at the Gorbals
#60: Dough’s Passionfruit Doughnut
#59: Uncle Jesse Bao at Baohaus
#58: Patatas Bravas at El Colmado
#57: Lupulo’s Razor Clams
#56: Bar Masa’s Spicy Dancing Shrimp
#55: Underwest Donuts’ Halva