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Nov 25, 2006 06:55 PM

Z Bistro, a new lunch-only place in Carson City

Z Bistro has opened in Carson City off Roop Street behind the Wal-Mart on East College Parkway. The quality will attract most Chowhounders, but it's a llttle too spendy for me to eat there regularly.
It opened in early November in what used to be a Philadelphia Cheesesteak location. I like the place becuase it used to have some of the area's best gyros. Of note to Chowhounders is that it is directly across the street from Villa Basque Deli, which has excellent chorizos.
It's a lunch-only place open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Web site ( ) says 2:30 p.m., but the woman I believe to be the owner told me 3 p.m.
It has a varied menu, but a lot of it is French oriented. I went there for lunch on Friday and got a mushroom crepe for $6.50 and a daily special of lamb stew described as tnagine of lamb for $12. I thought I'd have enough left over for dinner.
The crepe was made from buckwheat flour. As it says on the menu, "By choosing to feature crepes as our main lunchtime fare, we are remembering and honoring Gilles' mother, who was from Brittany. In that northwest corner of France, buckwheat flour has been used to create the traditional 'gallette' for generations."
I don't know who Gilles is. The crepe was well prepared, but the jury is still out for me if I like buckwheat. The mushrooms tasted good and there was a nice gruyere cheese and herbes de provence spice in the crepe and what appeared to be creme fraiche drizzled on top. The buckwheat is certainly a distinctive way to cook the crepe but it doesn't have the texture I expect of a crepe.
Then came the tangine of lamb. In searching the Internet, I see now tangine refers to a Moroccan style of cooking. When it I arrived, I wondered if it was French for "side order."
In the stew I got four chunks of potato, seven cubes of lamb, eight slices of carrot and a poached apricot. The dish was well prepared. I think most Chowhounders would enjoy it. It's that for $12 I expected a little more food.
The lamb was tender and well spiced. The ingredients in the stew included saffron, which was fantastic in potatoes. I'd never had potatoes infused with saffron before and it was a wonderful combination.
I also got fresh-baked baquettes that were commendable. The $2 glass of house organic lemonade was notable, too. Real lemonade.
The room is bright and cheerful with the walls painted a squash yellow. The service was first rate.
I want to go back and try another crepe, either the ratatouille or the black forest ham. The salads look promising, too, especially the nicoise salad with herbed tuna, haricot vert (I Googled it. It's fancy French green beans), potato, olives and a hard boiled egg.
They also serve soups. The Friday soup was descrbed as Tandoori. They also list a French onion soup as a regular menu item.
Clearly the staff knows their way around the kitchen at Z Bistro. They choose their ingredients with care. With tip, though, my Friday lunch came to $25.30. That's not a lunch I can afford to do often.

Z Bistro
725 Basque Way
Carson City, NV

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  1. Steve, just a wild guess but in Genoa, the Pink House, which serves French cuisine, is owned by Gilles LaGourgue. Maybe a coincidence, possibly not. If the owner of Z Bistro is French I would have to believe they are friends. I don't imagine there's a large Gallic community in the valley. I wonder if the restaurant is testing the waters at lunch before opening for dinner service.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RevrendAndy

      Nope; Gilles LaGourgue is French Basque, from Hellette -- so was his mother. She was not from Brittany. And it's not the Pink House, it's La Ferme.

    2. Went back today and ordered the proscuitto crepe. It was nice. I think I like the buckwheat crepes. They're not as delicate as the typical French crepes, but tasty. I also go the French onion soup. It was nice, but not worth a special trip to try it.

      1. Quick update. Went there for lunch today and got the $6.50 soup and salad.
        The soup was black bean and tomato. Definitely tasted the black bean, not so much the tomato. Good flavor, liked it a lot.
        The house salad came with a walnut vinaigrette and a soft flavorful white cheese that turned out to be goat cheese. My knowledge of goat cheese stops at feta and this was nothing like feta. The house salad was quite tasty too. With a pot of tea it came to $9.11 and was well worth that.
        I think Chowhounders looking for a nice lunch spot in Carson City would do well to check out Z Bistro.

        1. Another quick update. Got the corn and potato chowder today and the Nicoise salad. The chowder was outstanding. Wonderful flavors and the corn was fresh -- like just off the cob -- and firm. I don't know where they got it, but I don't think it came from a can or was frozen. I wonder if they cooked and it got it off the cobs themselves.
          The Nicoise salad was seasoned tuna on a bed of a few lettuce leaves, not iceberg but I'm not sure what kind, surrounded by whole, pitted olives, halved cherry tomatoes, a sliced hard boiled egg and something else, I'm sure. it was covered with a lemon and oil dressing. The olives were among the freshest I've tasted in the area, the tomatoes had real tomato flavor and the seasoning on the tuna was just right. I also liked the lemon and oil dressing. First time I've had that and the lemon gave just the right acidity and bite to the oil dressing.
          Z Bistro plans to add dinners on Friday and Saturday nights, but I'm not sure when. Their lunch business looks pretty strong. I'd recommend going before 11:45 a.m. or after 1 p.m.