Bowl - Reno
Tried Bowl this weekend for the first time. Absolutely loved my dish of the duck confit over polenta with greens. Really quite outstanding. The wine list was fine, plus they encouraged us to go to the wine bar next door if we wanted to try something else. Most everything on the menu sounded tasty, so tasty that I had trouble deciding, but all the more reason for a follow-up visit. Sezmu was my favorite Reno restaurant so I am happy to see the chef is doing something else in town.
I tried Bowl once and my experience was not good. But I like what they’re doing. The staff seems to have a good attitude. It’s almost too hip or trendy for me, but it stands out in Reno.
I got the pickled vegetables, the vegan Pho soup and the pork shoulder. Generally, I hated my meal.
The pickled vegetables had no flavor. Just the pickled texture and a briny, vinegar flavor. The pho was the worst stereotype of vegan/vegetarian food: Bland, uninteresting. I liked the noodles but the broth, described as ginger-lemon, was bland. Adding Sriracha sauce and pepper did not help. I love the broth at China East for the spinach-tofu soup that relies heavily on ginger, but this broth nothing for me. The vegetables, described as broccoli, broccolini, broccoli rabe, carrots and shitakes on the restaurant’s Web site, was the worst part. Just a big bland pile of overcooked goo.
The pork shoulder came with an Oaxacan tomatillo sauce. That sounded interesting. I assumed since it was from Mexico there would be some spice to it. But either it’s not meant to be spicy or they dumbed it down for the gringos. I didn’t like the taste. I ended up scraping it off the pork. There was an odd burnt flavor, but I can’t pin it down. I don’t think it came from chile peppers. It was off putting. It was served on hominy, a vegetable I recognized, and the Web site lists another called chayote. But I think there was at least one more vegetable. Look at the photo. One of the vegetables had a part, I believe the skin or exterior, that was unchewable. I would chew and chew and chew and the softer inner part would break up but I couldn’t break down the outer part. The pork seemed to be of a high grade of meat and was nicely cooked.
The selection of wines by the glass was disappointing.
I don’t think this meal will be typical of future meals here. I like the restaurant, though. I think it’s a matter of finding the right things. The menu is a little Californiacated but I’m guessing I’ll find some gems on it.
I have been there, twice. The first time for their soft opening/holland project fundraiser. The second time for lunch. I never ate at Sezmu, though was aware that it was a top local restaurant. Anyway, i loved Bowl. The first time, I had the duck confit. It was delicious, served over polenta and greens. The duck was very similar to 4th Street Bistro's duck confit (my favorite dish), and I was told that the Bowl chef had cooked at 4th street in the past. The second time, I had cioppino, which was also very good. This place is wonderful! A great addition to downtown. And relatively inexpensive...Both of my dishes were around 12 dollars (I don't remember exactly).
4th Street Bistro
3065 W 4th St, Reno, NV 89523
670 Mount Rose St, Reno, NV 89509