Necessary Vices

Virtue tempts with beer, butter and pub classics

Fried, stuffed and buttered, the temptations on Virtue Feed & Grain's menu highlight the irony in the new restaurant's name.

Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong's newest restaurant is part Irish bar and lounge, part restaurant, part vintage arcade, and full of easygoing touches, like low-set tables with porch swings.

Starters, like paprika-dusted deviled eggs ($5) and tangy buffalo wings ($12), are equally pleasing. Armstrong's spicy, Tabasco-based Marie Rose dipping sauce–a favorite at sibling restaurant Eamonn's–stars on a plate of golden fried calamari ($9).

Peppercorn-topped steak ($22) is amply seasoned and buttery, with crisp fries and salad dressed in mustard vinaigrette. For a quicker bite, the ham-and-cheese toastie ($7) griddles layers of salty ham with melted Tillamook cheddar.

The pub fare goes well with Todd Thrasher's effervescent, beer-based "hoptails" ($8.50). Yuzu, orange water and Hefeweizen lend bright citrus to gin and bourbon in the Hoptail With No Name (click here for the recipe). What I Drink plays with the classic shandy, combining Amstel Light, lemon soda and dark rum. Currant soda in the Guinness-based Smooth as Velvet is a sturdy match to the blackberry-and-raspberry-glazed Bakewell Tart ($9), the ultimate deep-dish hybrid of fruit pie and cake.

Virtue Feed & Grain, 106 S. Union St., Alexandria; 571-970-3669 or virtuefeedandgrain.com