Restaurateur, New York
To twote Pete Wells, authority on all things New York restaurant:
I’ve come to believe the 2 most important things in restaurant design are lighting and acoustics. Also the 2 most often screwed up.
I walk into Virginia’s and the first thing that strikes me is that these elements are on point. The lighting is perfect — you can still see your dining companion but everyone looks slightly more attractive. The playlist is tight, but the music never overpowers your totally engaging dinner convos.
The guys behind Virginia’s know what they’re doing. While Christian Ramos leads the BOH, serving thoughtful, seasonal (read: delicious) dishes like: seared cuttlefish with asparagus, green garlic and togarashi mayonnaise; caramelized romanesco with smoked pine nuts, clothbound cheddar and speck vinaigrette; and (the piece de resistance of my meal at V’s) hanger steak with Argentine chorizo and bok choy, Reed Adelson presides over the FOH, tending to all of the details that combine to make Virginia’s a low-key feeling spot where you want to sit and stay a while, for a drink, a bite, or a multiple-course meal.
Reed, a native of the isle of Manhattan, has served with the best. His resume includes Charlie Trotter’s, the Mark and Locanda Verde. It’s hard to catch him in a moment of rest, with all of the buzz surrounding Virginia’s, but tenacious I was and generous he was to spend a few of his precious moments away from Virginia’s to do the Back to Spain questionnaire. Hablamos!
Coffee or tea?
Tea. (B2S: really, no coffee in the AM? no pre-service espresso shot?)
Only coffee for me is coffee ice cream, never espresso or any coffee.
(B2S: any favorite place for this coffee ice cream?) I’m not sure if Davey’s has coffeee ice cream but if they do it’s Davey’s. I like Davey’s, OddFellows and Morgenstern’s. And probably in that order.
Beer or wine?
Both! Depends on the mood, and the time and place that I’m drinking.
Describe your typical breakfast.
I juice my own oranges in the morning, It’s hard for me to start my day without it. But I’ll skip OJ rather than drinking anything that’s not fresh-squeezed. That’s the most important for me. In terms of food, I tend to keep it light: fruit, yogurt, granola… but If i’m not being healthy, then it’s soft-scrambled eggs with a lot of butter and chives. Also, I love belgian waffles with ice cream and good maple syrup.
(B2S: there we go!)
What’s your earliest food-related memory?
Hmm.. that’s tough…
I was obsessed with raspberry sauce as a little kid and i remember asking for it everywhere we went and my dad getting upset because I didn’t realize that most places wouldn’t have that.
Also an early memory is the Fusilli Vico at Vico Restaurante on the Upper East Side near our apartment. I still maintain that it’s one of the great dishes in New York City.
(B2S: Noted and determined to try it.)
Describe your ideal sandwich.
Banh mi from Banh Mi Saigon on Grand Street… with extra sriracha.
Where would you travel to eat?
So… I’m excited about Portugal right now (B2S: love Portugal!) Great food and wine and affordability.
Name 5 people you would like to have at a dinner party.
1. Jeff Bridges
2. Allison Williams
(B2S: Allison Williams from Girls?)
Yes. I have a crush
3. Tom Brokaw
4. Jerry Seinfeld, and …
5. Marilyn Monroe
(B2S: Wild card! I like it.)
But Tom Brokaw is the best. He used to come into Locanda all the time and I got to know him. Coolest dude ever.
What are you in the mood to eat right now?
I think you can answer that one… Davey’s! Either cookies and cream or strawberry ice cream. Oh, I forgot one from earlier: I’m also obsessed with the egg custard ice cream at Chinatown Ice cream Factory. Love that place. They make the egg custard ice cream into a milkshake too, which is insanity.