Yelp! Review: Virtue Food and Grain in Alexandria, VA

I know some people have very strong feelings opposing Yelp!  But those people are wrong.  Yelp! is awesome, if used correctly.  I mostly use Yelp! to send some props to places that I particularly like, or that I think would benefit from some constructive criticism.  Yet the reason I wrote my very first Yelp! review was for a very different reason- to pan a place that had treated us like crap, and to warn others to stay away.  I don’t come across such shoddy places often, so you know it must have sucked if I not only got upset, but also got upset enough to bother creating a Yelp! account over it.

I present this, my very first Yelp! review, and my only one-star Yelp! review to date.  Originally posted here on August 25, 2013.

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I tried Virtue Food & Grain a few months ago and came away hating it.  But recently we received a gift card for the place, I couldn’t really remember what I hadn’t liked about it, and we heard there was new management, so we decided to give it a second shot.  The verdict: I am never returning.

The only good things I can say is that the host was very nice and professional.  Everything else was a massive disappointment.

The ambiance would be kinda cool, except the decorations were just a bit too overworked, it was WAY too loud for anybody to hear anybody else, and the music didn’t fit at all.  I mean, I love generic 90’s rock as much as the next guy, but surely with such non-generic decor you could come up with something a bit more appropriate music-wise, no?

It was a busy Friday night so we took a seat at the bar.  Right away the bartender was very dismissive of us- he just dropped menus in front of us, then proceeded to ignore us as much as possible for the rest of the evening.  Meanwhile, every time a group of young women came to the bar, he was Mr. Charming and would explain all the specials, etc (we didn’t get any of that info).  Our gift card had to be retrieved from their office by a manager because it had been ordered by out-of-town friends, but when we mentioned this to the bartender he made it seem like we were asking for something insanely unreasonable, and kept repeating that it’s a busy night so we shouldn’t expect much (dude, if your restaurant has a policy that gift cards can’t be emailed or whatever, that is your restaurant’s fault, not ours), and the second bartender who was only on his 4th day on the job kept telling us that they can’t do anything without the actual card and then acted like everything was settled.  To the manager’s credit, once he did finally arrive he was perfectly affable and helpful.  To top off our bad service experience, sitting at the end of the bar meant that we were stuck listening to the wait staff complaining to one another about their customers.  Dudes, we can hear you!

We were hoping that the food would at least be awesome to make up for the lack of, well, everything else, but that was sadly not the case.  The crab dip was alright (nothing special), as was my boyfriend’s ribeye.  My ribs were just awful.  There was barely any meat on the bones, and the bit that was there was totally charred.  The mac and cheese was good on top, but flavorless once you got past the top layer.

Oh, and to top it all off, there was water leaking from the ceiling and bouncing off of the bar and onto our plates.

If you want a place with generic overpriced food, crappy service, and an unwarranted pretentious vibe, help yourself.  The rest of us will be praying that they turn this place back into a bookstore.


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