Las Vegas is the undisputed casino gambling capital of the world. The famed Las Vegas Strip is lined with hotels that house restaurants developed — and sometimes even staffed — by celebrity chefs.
That makes Vegas a culinary capital as well. No wonder Wine Spectator Magazine has staged numerous consumer wine events there, and an annual fundraiser for the University of Nevada Las Vegas dubbed “UNLVino” has emerged as one of the most-talked-about wine events in the country.
But not all great meals consumed in Nevada are cooked in Las Vegas. The Silver State’s northern gaming mecca, Reno, also offers a number of destinations for foodies.
Beaujolais Bistro, for example, has emerged as one of the finest French restaurants in the West. After 10 years in its original location, the bistro shut down for a while as it relocated to new digs along the Truckee River — appropriately enough, on Riverside Drive.
A renovated Craftsman cottage houses the new dining room, and the new bar is filled with light (during daytime hours) and offers ample elbow room. It’s much more inviting than the original location, and that is by design.
Chef-proprietor Bill Gilbert appreciated the fact that locals considered Beaujolais Bistro a “special occasion” restaurant, but he wanted V.2 to be more accessible — both in design and with the menu. Old favorites are still offered, now complemented by casual dining options — marinated olives, mushroom cigars, scallops, carpaccio, oysters on the half shell, et al — at the bar, as Gilbert hopes locals will stop by more often.
Then there’s the wine list, hands down the best in Reno, and every bit as comprehensive as many in Las Vegas. Of course, there’s a big selection of food-friendly wines from Burgundy, but other French regions also are well represented. And that’s how the list is organized: by appellation.
Gilbert is proud of the fact that the list includes a number of rather obscure selections that no other Reno restaurant carries. His goal is to offer at least one wine to complement each menu selection. Each time I’ve visited, the suggested wine pairings have been spot on.
Another excellent dining spot in downtown Reno is Sterling’s at the Silver Legacy — particularly noted for its Sunday brunch. The selection of food items is… well… sterling, and each diner gets their choice of Domaine Ste. Michelle sparkling wine, Bisol Jeio Prosecco, a mimosa or a Bellini.
If we’ve tantalized your taste buds with this blog post, you may want to consider visiting Reno when the 3rd annual “Reno Bites” restaurant week takes place, this October 13-19.
That’s when local chefs pull out all the stops, creating specialty dishes, signature events and prix fixe menus that show off their considerable talents. Reno has long embraced the slogan, “the biggest little city I the world,” and when “Reno Bites” is on, it takes a culinary backseat to no other city, including Las Vegas.
To learn more about the 2014 edition of “Reno Bites,” click here.