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Oct 18, 2012 05:18 AM

Midtown Reno: Great new restaurant, brewery in Brassiere St. James

Brassiere St. James impressed me greatly with my one meal there. I think we may be sensing a seismic shift in Reno's dining scene as Brassiere St. James takes some of the hip coolness from Campo. In many ways it hits where Campo aims by making high quality, simple food.
The menu is pretty much high-end bar food. There's meats, cheeses, sandwiches, pizza (they call it flat bread) and some fried foods. Nothing too complex. But it seems to deliver it in high quality.
I only had a beer, French fries and sausages. But I was looking at what others were eating and saying and it seems like they were pretty much hitting across the board.
There was some confusion among the staff as to what part of the menu I could order from since I got there before 5 p.m. I settled on three sausages for $12, French fries for $5 and a $6 wheat beer called The Whitte Album.
The beer arrived first. It was simple. It served its purpose in that it wasn't hoppy so it didn't have the bitterness I don't like in ales. I was happy to drink it but I wouldn't come here just for that beer.
The French fries were cut thin and were perfectly cooked. If you like In N Out burger fries you'll like these. It would be nice to get something different, like spices or pepper or something. The fries came with a garlic aoli sauce and a smokey ketchup that were nice. The aoli could use a little more zing.
I got three kinds of house-made sausage, a lamb, an Italian and I forget the third type. All were excellent. Fresh and tasty and quite distinctive. This was a winner. I hope they keep up this quality. It makes me want to try the charcuterie plate.
I have to give them a shout out for their nice wine list. There's maybe one trophy wine, a Chateaunuef-du-pape sold only by the bottle. Everything else is sold by the glass and they have lots of food-friendly wine for $7 to $10 a glass, including a Scott Harvey barbera from Amador County, a couple of Rhone blends, a Burgundy, an Alsace pinot blanc and a German riesling. This is a more diverse wine list than three-fourths of the Reno restaurants, which focus on cabernet sauvignon and oaky chardonnay. Of course, just because they put it on the wine list doesn't mean the public will buy it. And they serve wine in regular stems, not tumblers like Campo.
The vibe was nice too. I noticed a lot of the customers were middle-aged men wearing baseball-style caps. So it seems, based on my one experience there, to have more of a masculine feel compared to say Campo's elegant feel.
I went opening day and the staff seems to be working out the bugs. There were plenty of employees on hand, which I take as a good sign.
Finding the door was a bit of a task and they could mark it better. I actually parked near an entrance that wasn't marked and walked around half the building trying to find my way in before I found a marked entrance.
Brassiere St. James is off to a good start. They aren't just good compared to Reno restaurants. I think people will rank it as a good restaurant, period. Even Bay Area food snobs will like it.

Brasserie Saint James
901 S Center St
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 348-8888

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  1. Great job, Steve. And as always, great pics. Looking forward to stopping in myself.

    1. This place sounds great! Thanks for posting about it. We'll have to check it out. Are they making their own charcuterie? We HAVE gotten rather spoiled by the wonderful selection of housemade at Campo. It's great if they're also making theirs. Since I consider men wearing hats in doors a turnoff that spans all generation, I'll avert my eyes :) Speaking of Campo, do you think you may be confusing them with some place else? They're SO casual. Dish towels as napkins, wine tumblers (traditional in Italy), open, loft-type ceiling, servers in Levis and Danskos. But again, thanks for reporting.

      1. I went back to Brassiere St. James the next day and had another great meal.
        This time I got the slowed cooked pork with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut and a couple of cocktails. The pork dish was first rate. The pork was tender and flavorful and not mushy. The mashed potatoes were perfect and the sauerkraut had some zing but wasn't over the top.
        The first cocktail I got was the Blueberry Lemon Jefferson. I didn't like it. When I started drinking it, it was too bitter. And there was little blueberry flavor. Well, it turns out all the blueberry flavor had settled to the bottom of the glass and by the end of the drink there was too much blueberry taste.
        The other cocktail, a Negroni, was excellent and I would recommend it to anyone.
        I've included a picture showing their Argentian steak dinner option.
        The owner said for charcuterie they are using meats from Salumi in Seattle but hope to make their own some day.

        1. The Greater Reno Grub and Gripe Group descended on Brassiere St. James nine strong and we got to sample a much wider range of food. Overall, it was good, but there were also some problems exposed.
          The biggest problem came with seating. Most of us got there early for a 6:30 p.m. reservation, but our table was not ready. It turns out they were waiting for another group to leave. The last person to leave tossed off a snarky remark to our group of nine as he walked past, but only two of us heard it. They've been open a week but maybe they need to work out the reservation situation better.
          We were seated late and didn't give our first order until after 7 p.m. And while our waitress tried to be friendly and helpful, there were some service issues.
          The food generally was good. They have a Buenos Aires grill that is a mixed grill of different kinds of meats. We ordered it as an appetizer for seven of us. It was a hit. And you could tell which of us came from big families by the way we dug in to get our meat. You snooze, you lose. The sausage again was excellent. There were a couple of different kinds of beef and both were excellent. I also liked the chicken. I didn't get to try the lamb.
          Two of us order duck cassoulet for an entree, including me, but they were out. So I ordered the Spaniard flat bread. This was pretty good, among the better pizzas in town. They do something with the crust. I can't quite figure it out. But it was different and good. The Basque chorizo, manchego and roasted peppers were all nice.
          I got to sample a few other dishes and liked what I tasted. The mac and cheese had cauliflower and fresh mushrooms. It's a dish I would order. I also liked the chicken and rib eye I ordered.
          At our end of the table, the fish/seafood dishes didn't seem to fare as well. The salmon seemed ordinary and Dan didn't think his mussels had much flavor. Reno's seafood jinx maybe hits again.
          Corkage was $15 a bottle and they gave us no break for the four bottles we brought. I had asked a waitress what kind of wine glasses they had and she said regular, but they're not. Rather than having a curved bowl, they're like a cylinder with straight walls and a stem.
          Generally, everyone seemed happy with their meals. The place was packed on a Tuesday night.
          Thanks to Bill for helping out with the photos.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SteveTimko

            Still wanna check this place out. A party of nine just after opening could be part of the problem. Those sausages look great! Thanks for the report.

          2. Finally made it here myself. Actually twice. Really dig the atmosphere; food was good, but not outstanding. Second trip we sat at the bar and had the portabella fries. Now those were good. First trip I had the Spanish pizza. Toppings were really good- jamon, manchego, roasted peppers, but I wasn't crazy about the crust. I did taste the pig & kraut and it was very, very good. The chicken sandwich was just ordinary. A lot more on the menu to try, so will be back!

            1 Reply
            1. re: nancyhudson

              Redemption! Went back for dinner Saturday night. Everything was really outstanding. I had the shortrib/oxtail over polenta and others had the roasted chicken over root vegetables and the burger. All prepared to perfection. Only disappointment was that they were sold out of cassoulet :-(