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Oct 17, 2006 12:23 AM

4th St. Bistro Reno

4th St. Bistro is the 2nd restaurant I’ve found in Reno with San Francisco quality cooking. Ciao Pizzeria and Wine Bar, my first discovery, is more casual whereas 4th St. Bistro could be considered a more formal dining experience, albeit in a relaxed setting. Carol Wilson, the manager/owner works the room and seems to attend to every table, making sure each diner’s experience is perfect. Chef/cowner Natalie Sellers produces exciting, market fresh cuisine in the kitchen. Chef Natalie got her start at Chez Panisse, where Alice Waters influence appears in Natalie’s fanatic use of the finest, freshest ingredients possible. I inquired about a salmon entrée and was told they have their own fisherman with a small boat on the west coast who ships the fish twice a week. The wine list is small but has some unusual and interesting items and is fairly priced.

We started with Ambrosia melon, Black Mission figs, arugula, and Fra’Mani Salame. A very light dressing adorned the arugula. A dish this simple could only work because of the extraordinary sweetness of the fruits. The arugula tasted hand picked from a garden. Our 2nd appetizer, sunchoke soup, was delicious.

My entrée was seared Maine sea scallops with roasted white corn, pancetta & radicchio risotto, and white truffle oil. Our server almost apologized because the chef barely cooks the scallops so as to keep them moist. I could have kissed her, although MsRev may have taken exception to that. In this area, you have to beg to have the seafood medium-rare. This dish was perfect. We also enjoyed Roasted breast of Sonoma County “Liberty” duck with dirty French red rice, Tuscan kale and fig relish. The duck was cooked perfectly, medium rare, and was thoroughly enjoyable.

Desserts by pastry chef Jeff Barnard were no less wonderful. Dark Chocolate & Pistachio Meringue with raspberry ice cream and fudge sauce was delectable. Even better was Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate ganache torte with a pecan crust and caramel sauce. Ganache is normally rich and dense but this was unusually velvety and sensuous. How does he do that? We ended the meal with the housemade Limoncello, no less delectable and fresh tasting than everything else. I've experimented with that myself, unsucessfully. Carol offered to send me the recipe. I love this place.

Has San Francisco come to Reno?

We will be back here soon!

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  1. Nice report, Andy. I have offered it up as an alternative in Reno based on reputation, but I've never eaten there. Sounds like a place I need to try.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SteveTimko

      Well, after recommending 4th Street Bistro based on reputation all these years, I finally tried and I liked it.
      The meal was well done and the service was exceptional. Our group got olives and cheese to start and all were tasty. I got the duck breast and it was well prepared. The outside was crispy but the inside was tender. Everyone else seem satisfied with their entrees.
      The only disappointments I had were the asparagus I ordered as a side and the dessert. The asparagus was too fibrous. More a problem of selection than cooking, I believe. And the dessert I got, a baked cherry dish, actually didn't have much cherry flavor.
      The service was excellent though and our waiter, Tim, did a great job. We were actually kind of a pain in the butt since we had a lot of bottles of wine and some needed to be chilled and others decanted. It probably helped that one couple in our group knew Tim pretty well but from what I could tell the other tables he waited on got excellent service too.
      Fourth Street Bistro also has a nice wine menu with reasonable mark ups. Corkage is $20 a bottle.

    2. Hey RA, would you please share that Limoncello recipe on the Home Cooking or Spirits board? We've been experimenting with 4-5 ourselves trying to find one that stands out. TIA

      1. I have loved this restaurant for years. It is my favorite "nice" restaurant (birthdays, anniversary) in Reno. The duck confit is fantastic, the kind of dish that is hard to share, even one bite. I have never understood the somewhat mixed reviews on this board.