Dream bite

Simple, subtle and juicy—with nuts on top. It’s The Stonehouse’s chicken curry.

Simple, subtle and juicy—with nuts on top. It’s The Stonehouse’s chicken curry.

Photo By David Robert

Stone House Café

1907 S. Arlington Ave.
Reno, NV 89509

(775) 284-3895

I’d seen it there for years—the house made of stone on the corner of Arlington Avenue and Plumb Lane. It caught my eye many times simply because I wanted to live there. It seemed so whimsical. It fit the picture of my dream house: a Brothers-Grimm-fairytale-style cottage. Then, one day, a sign out front I hadn’t noticed before told me that this little stone structure was not the residence of a wolf who’d recently eaten somebody’s grandma, but rather the temporary dwelling place of chefs, servers and busboys. It was the aptly named Stonehouse, a restaurant and catering outfit.

The Stonehouse’s recent renovation, particularly to the patio, has added a definite magical feeling to its already quaint qualities. I arrived near 6 o’clock on an overcast evening. It was a pleasant 60 degrees, and a spot near the huge fire pit outside assured warmth once the clouds drew tighter and the night darkened. Between the landscaping, the umbrellas and the surrounding rock barrier, The Stonehouse’s large courtyard has a very “secret garden” feel.

I enjoyed the breeze and the smell of leaves turning as I waited for my friend Amanda. When she arrived, the smartly dressed, amiable waiter, Angelo, came to take our orders.

We started with the baked brie and fruit ($8.95). The brie came topped with bleu cheese that appeared to have been broiled; it was golden and bubbly, a perfect crown for the brie. The fruit array consisted of pineapple, apple, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. The brie, which was very near the 98-degree temperature of my mouth, melted even more once on my tongue, the way all good bries do.

For dinner, Amanda and I were going to share the chicken curry and a pesto Boca burger. When the waiter apologized for being out of Bocas, I considered ordering the chicken pasta primavera, but the chicken curry ($18.95) sounded so appetizing I decided we’d just have to order two of the same dish.

Glad I did. The chicken was juicy in a way I’ve rarely experienced, and there was a fresh medley of vegetables and fruits topping it. It came with a side of perfectly cooked, mildly seasoned basmati rice.

Amanda thought the chicken curry should have had slightly more spice. She may have been right, but I also thought there was a simplicity in the subtleness of the flavoring. Because the chicken wasn’t overly spiced, I was more able to fully taste the combination of flavors. Aside from the veggies, the chicken was topped with mixed nuts. In one bite, I could taste the distinct woody flavor of an almond, and in another, I could discern the bitter sweet of a walnut. As the sky dimmed, it was hard to make out what was contained in every bite of food, which made it a fun surprise when a piece of nondescript fruit, which looked similar to chicken in the afterglow, made it into my mouth—a sudden note of sweet among a symphony of savory.

Aside from the very personable waiter, we got an even more personable bartender when we moved inside due to rain. As Shawn passionately explained his world travels and his time spent living in Hawaii, Amanda and I shared a caramel apple pie torte ($5.95). Huge slices of apple made it hard to steal a femininely meager bite without taking a whole structure-supporting apple with it. It fell apart in the way great food does.

With extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and a diverse, outgoing staff, The Stonehouse has something, and somebody, for everybody at any time of day.