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Vino Reno

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We had a group office dinner there last night, and I have to say it was a nice choice. The group was going out to jointly celebrate a period of transition in our office, and to welcome some new employees to the "team." It was meant to be a purely social event, and the Fondue theme worked well to get folks talking.

Vino Reno is really just a wine shop, tucked away in an impossible-to-find corner of the same office complex that holds popular lunch spot The Grill (owned by the same folks, on McCarran Blvd near Lakeside. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights - and maybe Sundays, I'm not sure - they serve Fondue. There are a few tables, mostly long with high (uncomfortable) stools....more of a set up for groups than couples. Our table was in a semi-private corner where we could enjoy our conversation.

The cheese fondue is excellent. Hot and bubbly and tasty; served with green apples and sourdough bread. We followed with combination meat/vegetable fondues to share. One thing that Vino Reno does differently than other fondue places I've been to is that they give you a little dish of tempura batter along with the food--so you can make your vegetables or shrimp tempura style. Its an excellent batter..light and tasty. The vegetables (cauliflower, squash, peppers, mushrooms, etc) are particularly tasty cooked this way. The meats in the combination included shrimp (very fresh), sirloin, chicken, and a teriyaki-marinated sirloin. Three dipping sauces were served: teriyaki (pretty good), sweet red chili (wonderful!!!...sort of a Thai version) and mango vineagrette (somewhat bland...it was hardly touched).

The chocolate fondue was the weakest, IMO. But then I'm not much of a chocolate fan. It wasn't quite hot enough, and therefore was starting to thicken a bit like pudding. The fruits served with it also left something to be desired: too many bananas (which I won't eat) and too few strawberries. Also mangoes that were way too crunchy and unripe. The chocolate fondue also comes with miniature marshmallows (what's up with that? too small to skewer...) and graham cracker cookies (I guess you're supposed to dip these by hand as they are too hard to skewer...). Pound cake would have been a lot better.....

Service was wonderful, btw. Our server was friendly and efficient and a good source of information. He was well-versed in the extensive variety of wines for sale.....I didn't peek at the prices at all but I suspect they are reasonable since it IS a wine store during the rest of the week.....When the hostess was floundering at the thought of reading the extensive list, she commented that what she really craved was a Sauvignon Blanc from the Marborough district of New Zealand. He told her he had the perfect bottle, from Dog Point winery. And it was perfect. I was impressed.......

I say check it out if you're craving fondue. Particularly fun for groups. The cheese fondue was especially great on the first night that you really felt winter was coming.....

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  1. Nice report, Janet. I've been beaning to try that place. THe Grill at Quail Corner (or is it run?) is probably the most wine friendly restaurant in Reno.