Back to the bistro

Although you probably will want to stuff your face on The Cheese Board’s sandwiches, dishes like the lambchop salad might also be worth a try.

Although you probably will want to stuff your face on The Cheese Board’s sandwiches, dishes like the lambchop salad might also be worth a try.

Photo By David Robert

Billed as an “American Bistro and Catering Company,” The Cheese Board sells fine wines and cheeses, hosts wine-tastings, does catering and, to top it all off, is a dynamite luncheon spot. The Cheese Board and Wine Seller (note the pun), as it is sometimes known, has an interesting, shifting lunch menu—heavy on daily soup, salad and sandwich specials. It’s a classy joint, with all the trappings of a pleasant California-does-the-Old-World ambience, including the requisite trendy vintage wine posters.

We ordered specials. My friend Ali had warmed French brie with sliced apples, apple garlic jam and a sweet French baguette ($9.25). It’s a delicate balance of flavors that works quite well. Even my girlfriend, Danielle, who claimed to not much like Brie, was wholly won over. She had a veggie sandwich ($7.95) with fresh eggplant, onion, tomato, lettuce, Swiss cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and a knockout basil pesto.

I had the turkey melt ($8.25) with grilled onions, avocado, tomatoes and probably the best smoked bacon I have ever had. The melted cheddar, as one might expect from a restaurant called The Cheese Board, was fantastic. The sandwich was supposed to be on focaccia bread, but since they were out, I had it on a French roll. One might expect a large, bacon-laden turkey-melt sandwich to leave the innards feeling heavy and strained. But such is not the case at The Cheese Board; the ingredients are top-notch, and I left feeling fine.

The Cheese Board is on California Avenue, one of the best shady lanes in Reno. In fact, the view out the front windows is so nice that Ali asked me, “Why are you so distracted? You keep staring out the window.” My reply: “This part of town is just so … cute.” It’s a stone’s throw from the Nevada Museum of Art (which I’ve decided bears more than a passing resemblance to the Jawa Sandcrawler from the original Star Wars) and is downstairs from Deux Gros Nez.

The Cheese Board also has desserts—delicious baked goods, like the terrific blackberry chocolate bar ($2) and the nutty baseball bars ($2). These are baked fresh on site and, like most of the food at The Cheese Board, are as addictive as crack. Two days after my initial visit, Danielle and I were trying to decide where we wanted to go for lunch. “You know,” I confessed, “I really just want to go back to The Cheese Board.”

“Me, too!” she exclaimed, and back we went, like children skipping to the candy store.

This isn’t to say The Cheese Board is perfect. They operate with an "order at the counter before taking a seat" system (also known as the "take a number" system), which is a little annoying. And they seem to have a problem keeping focaccia in stock. But there aren’t really any better sandwiches in Reno. A great location, excellent ambience, polite service and great food make The Cheese Board a memorable experience.