Virago Fusion Cuisine & Robata Nashville, Tennessee
09.01.2011 - 13.01.2011 22 °F
The words of my best friend echoed in my head as we pulled up to the Indigo Hotel in Nashville, "Oh, you won't need a jacket. It'll be way warmer there than in Chicago." The snowstorm that welcomed us into the country music-filled city, somehow, begged to differ. Just great, I thought. With my limited winter wardrobe--limited to a hand-me-down leather jacket, a Victoria's Secret hoodie, and leggings--my one opportunity to see a replica of the Parthenon what shot.
Determined not to allow the trip to be a complete failure, not that a last minute, all expense paid trip to Nashville could ever be mistaken for a complete failure, I resorted back to one of my favorite aspects of travel, food. Since the likelihood of sight-seeing in tights was out of the question, spending some quality time indoors at the local eateries was an appealing compromise.
The second day of the trip began with a late breakfast at 417 Union. By late I mean 1:30pm. A firm believer that breakfast should be available at any hour, I was delighted to hear that this small, local cafe was known for serving breakfast all day, every day. This, of course, instantly gave it two thumbs up in my book.
Not to discount 417 Union, but I have discovered that locating a decent breakfast or lunch joint is generally pretty easy. Most breakfast or lunch staples—eggs, bacon, pancakes, sandwiches, and so on—are seemingly difficult to botch up. The real challenge of dining out is dinner. Dinner's a complicated meal. It has a lot more variety which means there are a lot more opportunities for things to go awry. Therefore selecting a place for dinner is not a task to be taken lightheartedly.
Left to fulfill the task of finding suitable restaurants to spend the evenings, I stumbled upon a newly relocated, sushi and Asian fusion restaurant that had received almost a 4-star rating on Yelp.com. As an avid and trusting fan of Yelp, I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical. For one, being from Los Angeles and having eaten at some of the best sushi restaurants in LA—Nobu, Katsuya, and Katana, to name a few—the sushi bar (no pun intended) was set extremely high. Nonetheless, the realist in me understands that LA grade sushi may only be limited to the likes of LA. That being said, we decided to give Virago a whirl.
Immediately impressed by the Asian inspired decor and sheer massiveness of Virago, we knew we were going to be in for a real treat. My only question was, Why would a restaurant like this be located in Nashville? In Las Vegas, maybe, but Nashville?
From the centrally located bar/lounge with red accent lighting and cleverly layered lanterns, to the bundles of neatly lined chop sticks that covered the ceiling like a rice field in a dining room near the patio, I was excited to have found such a gem.
Our server, Alyssa, a striving country music singer from Miami, kindly suggested that as newcomers we try one of their signature rolls named The Bomb. Without much contemplation we ordered the $19 roll along with a variety of sashimi, a shrimp robatayaki (the fancy Japanese name for grilling), miso soup, and a spicy tuna roll. From start to finish, we savored every ounce. And The Bomb was, well, the bomb.
As we approached the final decision for the evening, a dessert menu was brought to our table. Tempted to forgo even looking at the available options, the words "chocolate" and "Between the Sheets" caught my eye. That quickly resolved the question of dessert.
Virago wasn't exactly a Nobu or Katana, but on any account it does hold its own.