Reno Chowdown: Outstanding meal at La Vecchia
The Greater Reno Grub and Gripe Group gathered at La Vecchia in Reno to take advantage of their free corkage policy on Tuesday nights. The meal was absolutely sterling as just about every dish was a home run. In terms of quality, this may have been our best GRGAGG get together.
LaVecchia moved from Moana Lane to Sklyine Drive last December.
Owner Alberto Gazzola started us with complimentary flat bread with an Italian ham called speck. There was also some excellent aged cheese. He said it was only aged 18 months, but it had complexity that suggested an older age than that.
For appetizers, we ordered deep fried calamari and an eggplant dish and both were also tasty. I especially liked the calamari as it was fresh and tender and not overcooked. Then came the entrees. I ordered carbonara without cream. RevAndy got a pappardelle with duck ragout and Mrs. RevAndy got veal with porcini mushrooms. Bill had pasta Amatriciana, Linda had salmon and Lisa has pumpkin and ricotta ravioli with smoked Italian sausage and brown butter sauce.
All were expertly prepared. Definitely four-star dishes. My noodles were perfect and the chef found some magic brush to apply the cheese, pecorino I believe, so perfectly. It added great flavor to the dish but in no way was overdone. The pancetta was also delicately used. We passed our plates around to make sure everyone got a taste of everyone else's meal. Perhaps Bill and Andy will chime in with their thoughts. I will say Andy thought this meal was better than the one we had a few years ago at the prior LaVecchia location.
That wasn't the end of the meal, though. For dessert, we shared limoncello and chocolate gelatos, a bread pudding and I believe a chocolate mousse. Again, all outstanding dishes.
The service was excellent. They were remarkably patient with us. We got to sit outside on the patio in glorious weather and we had six bottles of wine to drink. We got there at 7 p.m. and left around 10 p.m. or so.
Lana and I had a wonderful dinner enjoying our friends, food, and great wine. Steve and Bill have pretty much covered all the bases on the food we ate. I think the relocation of LaVecchia has been a great step up. They have a better location and the outdoor patio is a bonus addition. Steve was correct that I was a bit underwhelmed by my previous dining experiences. I found their menu to be standard Italian American fare seen at so many other restaurants. With this move, they have a much more interesting and exciting menu, i.e. duck pappardelle, which was great. Another major improvement is the addition of a wood burning oven. I would love to have tried one of their pizzas but that wasn't necessary as chef/owner Alberto was generous enough to start us with that scrumptious flatbread.
We can't wait for our next visit.
Linda and I had a wonderful time with friendly companions and great food and wine. Everyone brought a bottle of excellent wine and shared it around the table, and we discussed the characteristics of the wines and the food we enjoyed.
Alberto (the chef/owner) was very generous in bringing out a starter plate, saying that he and Steve had known each other via the web for several years. The evening was beautiful as we sat on the outdoor patio enjoying the view of the Reno skyline.
As Steve mentioned, every dish was really good. I enjoyed the Amatriciano (off menu, but they said they could do it), and Linda had an absolutely wonderful piece of salmon. Next time, I'm going to have the carbonara because I thought it was exceptional.
At the end of the evening, and after the rest of the desserts had been consumed, our waiter Julio brought me a chocolate gelato with strawberries - the perfect end to a perfect dining experience! Can't wait to go back again.