Ciao Restaurant Reno
Rejoice! San Francisco has made it to Reno. Ciao Pizzeria and Wine Bar, on S. Virginia, will be opening it's doors tomorrow, and will instantly be the hottest, hippest restaurant in Reno, with the best food. There is some serious food talent involved. It's a joint venture between the former owner of Cafe 333, the current chef of Frederick's, and a third restaurant savvy partner. We're not talking chateaubriand and veal oscar. I believe this to be the first establishment in Reno serving cutting edge cuisine. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I wish I knew of other places.
Last night was a private invitation only opening. Ms. Rev and I knew something was different just driving into the mini mall where Ciao is located. It's sign is more modern and the restaurant stands out from the other drab & dreary storefronts usually populating these kinds of malls. When you first enter and gather in the beauty of the restaurant, you can imagine yourself in one of the newest and trendiest restaurants in any big city. There's a very hip bar and an outdoor patio for dining al fresco.
One feature you can't miss is the huge wood burning oven next to the open kitchen in the back of the restaurant. All of the dishes are cooked in that oven. Can it get any better than that?
Although listed as a pizzeria, there are also appetizers, entrees, and desserts. They were serving samplers from each category. Everything was superb. The pizzas,imo, can't be beat. They have a California Wolfgang Puck crust-one you would find at Postrio, not the ubiquitious Puck express cafes scattered in so many airports. No standard pizza toppings. A few of the samplers are: house sausage,fennel,tomato secco,chilies/pancetta,grilled treviso,fontian,smoked tomato sugo/spinache,aglio,romano fantal,sea salt. An appetizer to die for is salt roasted beets, pine nut brittle, fig, and formaggio caprino. We also sampled a tomato caprese crostini. The first entree was very tasty neapolitan meatballs, treviso, and sugo. That was followed by ethereal braised beef shortribs, bitter greens, cipolina, ricotta rabano, and brodo. If you've never seen God in shortribs, this is the dish. Dessert was a moist, wonderful, dark chocolate flourless cake. The rest of the menu looked equally inviting. It will change it periodically.
I didn't see the wine list but considering Cafe 333 earned a wine spectator award, and the owner is an Advanced Sommelier working on her Masters, I would be pretty confident the wine list will carry some very interesting selections in all price ranges.
Ciao Pizzeria + Wine Bar
7111 S. Virginia St.
I ate there about a week ago, and have been traveling since and haven't had a chance to post. It is a little pricey, btw. Dinner for five including one bottle of wine and tip was $270. Everyone really liked their food, except my stepmom. She said the chicken was dry (she had the roast chicken). To their credit, the owner came over and talked with her about it, and ended up taking it off the bill (so that makes that price seem even pricier when you consider it didn't include one main course). Interestingly enough, my favorite dish was the pizza, and I usually don't like pizza. Really nice thin crust and delicious ingredients. European-style. Also one of the more reasonably priced items on the menu. I think I would love to go and try all the pizzas and some cocktails on the patio. Also really enjoyed the home-made gelatos for desert.
Steve, I'm surprised about your comment that there's no variety of pizzas. I was there for lunch today and noticed 5 or 6. For kids, they do pepperoni and I believe sausage-something a little more ordinary than their regular gourmet items. I'm sure they would improvise if you requested. I just ate lunch at the bar today and had a chopped salad with chicken, peaches, boursin, and pomagranite vinaigrette. It was wonderful.
We're in synch. I didn't order pizza, but I sat at the pizza counter and the other customer there (who knew the pizza cook/co-owner) let me have a slice of pizza and it was kick ass. I also got the gelato with three flavors, one of them commonly a fragrance (I can't remember the name) and it was good too.
So I'm up for pizza and gelato, definitely.
I'd like to see what wines they have once they get the wine bar going.
The fragrance-flavored gelato was lavender. And it was delicious...I'm crazy busy until mid-July but anytime after that you want to go have a pizza-fest, I'm up for it!!
I ate there last night and got the chicken basil pizza. It was wonderful with great crust. Plus I found a wonderful new sangiovese, Benessere. My only gripe is that I wish the pizza had a few more chunks of chicken.
Maybe we should do a Chowhound Pizza challenge and see who makes the best pizza in town. Bella Serra is also supposed to make good pizza.