Jazmine9333 Double R Blvd.
Reno, NV 89521
Tucked into that high-tech business area where the streets have silly names like “Terabyte Court” and “Trademark Drive” is Jazmine, a new fine-dining restaurant owned and operated by the folks that used to run the Eldorado’s Golden Fortune. They specialize in Chinese, sushi and other Asian foodstuffs.
The interior is sleek, chic and elegant and vaguely reminiscent of every other sleek, chic and elegant restaurant that’s opened up in the last couple years: all high ceilings, low lights and dangerous curves. There are two very stylish bars, one for sushi and one for wine and booze, and the atmosphere feels genuinely romantic—so, of course, I was there with my big lug of a brother.
We began the meal with an order of egg rolls ($5). Before she served us the actual rolls, our waitress brought us an impressive selection of tasty sauces—plum, sweet and sour, hot mustard and Thai chili. Then she brought out the egg rolls. I was expecting a rather large serving to accommodate the quantity and quality of the sauces. There were exactly two. Each of the four bowls had enough sauce for about five rolls. It was a funny instance of gourmet presentation taking precedence over basic logic: sure, the sauces were delicious and prettily presented, but we had way more than we could’ve possibly used.
Then I somehow managed to get hot mustard in my eye, which burns something horrible, let me tell you.
For the mains, I had the Wu Xi ribs ($12), which are pork spareribs flavored with sweet Asian spices and a touch of ginger. It was quite good, and the meat was so juicy and tender that it was just falling off the bone.
My brother, Cameron, ordered the pad thai ($10), of which he gave me a fair sampling. Now, I love pad thai no matter what. But I’ve gotten a little sick of it in recent years because it’s so ubiquitous. There are Thai joints all over, and even places like Jazmine, which doesn’t specialize in Thai food, are serving it. The McThai Happy Meal can’t be far off. And though the pad thai at Jazmine is passable, good even, it doesn’t compare to more authentic pad thai. I hate to pull the “authenticity” card, but Thai food is one of those cuisines that’s usually better at mom-and-pop-from-the-old-country places than at snooty gourmet restaurants. The pad thai at Jazmine was dominated by fat wedges of flavor-dominating onions, which was annoying.
The prices and atmosphere are moderate, and the restaurant manages to hit a happy medium. It’d be nice for a hot date, but even though my brother and I were both unshaven and wearing T-shirts, we didn’t quite feel like hoodlums. The service was friendly and efficient, and it doesn’t feel like a new place still trying to find its legs.
Dinner wasn’t quite filling, so we ordered dessert, a slice of an excellent cheesecake with raspberry sauce. When our waitress brought us the dessert, we asked about the sushi bar, and she told us that we could’ve ordered sushi a la carte at the table. “You guys didn’t get a sushi menu?” she asked, surprised. It’s too bad because a couple of sushi rolls would’ve rounded out dinner nicely.
Overall, a pretty good meal, though the fortune cookies tasted a little strange after the cheesecake.