Cutting edge cuisine

Butternut squash soup is one standout at Sezmu, where everything comes with a touch of class.

Butternut squash soup is one standout at Sezmu, where everything comes with a touch of class.

Photo By David Robert


670 Mount Rose St.
Reno, NV 89509

(775) 327-4448

In cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, cutting-edge restaurants like Reno’s Sezmu, 4th Street Bistro and LuLou’s can be found in multitudes, and the movement of quality dining is in full thrust. Reno is catching the bug.

Sezmu—the Egyptian God of the wine press—is about one month old, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. Husband and wife duo Larry Dunning and Kristi Hoffman—two of the area’s top chefs—have their skills honed and are doing it right. Formerly of Truffula and most recently the West Shore Café, Dunning does the appetizers and entrees and Kristi creates the desserts. Located in the old Bec’s Frozen Custard building on Mount Rose Street between Bibo Coffee Co. and 7-11, this 30-seat neighborhood delight is a treat for anyone who can appreciate top caliber dining.

My mom and I had the chance to get in on a Sunday night, and it was packed. Though they say reservations aren’t required, they’re a must here—a small place like this fills up quickly. The smart interior is modern-rustic with large suede panels covering the main wall with one long banquette on it. I like how the audio system’s speakers are mounted under the suede, so they are hidden. It seems less obtrusive. On the other side of the restaurant is an extensive wine bar with food served, also. Everything in Sezmu has a touch of class—from the salt and pepper at the tables to the stylish, immaculate restrooms.

The menu offers many small appetizer courses, quite a few main courses and a chef’s choice tasting menu. It’s hard to put a label on this type of food, but I would call it modern, creative American cuisine with a Californian influence. Dunning and Hoffman have superior ingredients, such as all hormone-free meats, organic vegetables and only the freshest fish.

My mom and I decided to order a bunch of small courses, so we could taste many different flavors. Our server, Pat, was helpful in arranging the courses so that they came out paired as one soup course, a seafood course and a vegetable course. We ordered the beet study ($9), an arrangement of beets presented three different ways: tar tare, roasted and a beet and goat cheese sandwich. Next was the roasted delicata squash with pomegranate, balsamic pearl onion and chestnut foam ($6). Then came seared scallops with king trumpet mushrooms and parsnip puree ($12), the ahi spring roll with yuzu-ginger dipping sauce ($12), pork belly, French lentil soup with celery root and fried brussel sprout leaves ($10) and the butternut squash soup with cocoa mascarpone, Tahitian vanilla oil and apple gastrique ($7). Out of all the small courses, the seared scallops and the butternut squash soup stole the show.

I was impressed with how quickly the food came out. The kitchen crew has done a good job of preparation, and the plates come out efficiently. We enjoyed all of the courses, and since they were petite, we still had room for dessert. Boy am I glad we did. I think we stumbled upon some of the best desserts ever! I ordered the burnt caramel pots de crème with hot chocolate chai, Tahitian vanilla marshmallows and citrus lace ($8), and my mom ordered the Guinness stout ginger cake with ginger ice cream, apple jus and caramelized pink lady apples ($8) Both of our desserts were absolutely perfect—as our server Pat said, “over the top,” and I couldn’t agree more.

An evening at Sezmu can be a special occasion or just a nice sit-down family-and-friends dinner on a Sunday night.