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Sep 21, 2007 10:08 AM

Louis' Basque Corner (Reno)

While road-tripping through Nevada, we recently had a great dinner at Louis' Basque Corner in Reno.

We had considered stopping in Elko because we had heard that there was good Basque food there. Instead, we ended up there around 3pm hoping for lunch. We found the Basque places -- three of them are within a block of each other on Silver Street. Unfortunately, they all closed at 2. The Star Hotel even had their hours engraved in a wooden plaque by the door, so we figured they were pretty set in their ways and we were out of luck.

Fortunately, as we were searching our GPS for places to eat in Reno, we found Louis' Basque Corner just down the street from our hotel (the El Dorado).

Their menu rotates daily, with each day featuring a set first course and a selection of other dishes to order. It was Thursday, so the first course was Chicken Basquaise, and the choices were Rabbit, Calamari, Top Sirloin Steak and Lamb Chops. In addition, they had two (!!) different styles of sweetbreads available.

The food is served family style, with shared salad and soup and each person ordering a main course to share. The people we were seated with informed us that a Picon Punch was the mandatory drink to start with, and who were we to argue. Dinner also included communal carafes of a passable red wine.

Between the six of us at our table, we ended up ordering each of the main courses available that night. Everything was tasty, if simply prepared. The service was great and very friendly, as was our company at our table. Dessert was aged jack cheese and ice cream with chocolate sauce -- again, quite simple but very enjoyable.

Dinner was inclusive at $22.95 a person (the Picon Punch was extra), which we thought was very reasonable.

Highly recommended -- particularly if a soulless casino buffet is your alternative.

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  1. Glad you enjoyed your Basque meal...we often eat at Louis', as much for the fun folks as the good sweetbreads... Do try to get back to the Basque places in Elko - we like all three, but almost always go to Bil'Toki's because we love the Chef's Choice dinners. Winnameucca has several Basque restaurants as well - the Martin Hotel being our favorite. Several months ago, we went Nevada road-tripping with a bunch of friends, and managed to eat 6 Basque meals in 5 days... burp.

    1. Glad you enjoyed your meal. I stopped going to Louis' because the food was poor. maybe it's rebounding. I'll have to check it out again.

      2 Replies
      1. re: SteveTimko

        My theory has always been that after a picon punch or two, I really don't care about the food....

        Picon Punch is an acquired taste, but IMO its a taste worth acquiring.....

        1. re: SteveTimko

          me, too, steve. it used to be a staple for us to bring out of towners to, but the food had been mediocre on our last few visits, so we stopped. might have to give it another try. actually, let me say the sides have always been great - fries, salad, oxtails, it's been the entree that's slipped a bit.

        2. Joshua and I went there last night for dinner and it was easily one of the worst, if not the worst, meals I've had in the 11 years I've lived in Reno.

          Things started well with a split pea soup that, although lukewarm, it tasted good. Then we were served lamb stew and beans, neither was hot, and a salad which was okay.

          For dinner I choose the paella and the mussels were so salty I spit one out on my plate. The rice was overcooked...extremely mushy with an awful flavor. Again, the food was not hot...just warm. I didn't even try the chicken in the paella, I was done. We even passed on the dessert, even though she brought us out the aged jack cheese anyway which had a very hard waxy texture...after taking one bite of it and it not seeming to want to start the digestion gummed up into a ball of waxy cheese in my mouth that got spit out into my napkin, too.

          Josh ordered the leg of lamb, which was overcooked and tough.

          I'm sad to say that the highlight of our meal was the plate of french fries we were served with everything. They were hot, crispy, and delicious!

          The service was okay.

          Overall, this place is disgusting. Avoid it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: turnerz

            Your experience is closer to what we experienced when we took relatives there in the late 1990s. I wonder if it's a matter of who is cooking that night?

          2. Went to the Santa Fe about a month ago - that'll be our new basque place in town - it was far superior to anything I've had a Louie's the last couple years.

            5 Replies
            1. re: nancyhudson

              Really need to try the Martin Hotel in Winnemucca. Or Ormacheas. Martin is more traditional family style and Ormacheas has some of the best beef you can get.

              1. re: nvcook

                JT's in Gardnerville ie excellent, too.

              2. re: nancyhudson

                Nancy - This is in Reno as well? Downtown-ish?

                1. re: Sarah

                  Yes, 235 N. Lake Street Reno NV 89501 (775) 323-1891 - just down from the Siena.

                  1. re: nancyhudson

                    It's the back side of Harrah's. When Harrah's tried to expand they wanted the land the Santa Fe was on but they refused to sell to Harrah's basically built around them.