50 N. Sierra Street, 323-1944
“Downtown Reno” and “classy” are not words you often see together, unless there’s a “is not very” between them, but J.B. Mapes is changing that. The restaurant opened in November in the Palladio. The décor is modern and stylish with sleek black chairs and lime green walls. Large black and white paintings set off the walls nicely. Windows face Sierra Street and make for some interesting people-watching. In the back is a small boutique area with items for sale. The owner of J.B. Mapes also owns Be Abundant, which is where the items came from. There’s also a pastry case with some great-looking desserts, and a bar that faces into an open-style kitchen, and a baby grand in the corner.
My friend Tim and I headed down on a Sunday and learned that this was actually the first Sunday they had served brunch. I love brunch. It combines the best elements of breakfast and lunch, and you can drink alcohol, and no one looks at you like they are contemplating an intervention. On that note, I had to start with a mimosa ($5). The fresh-squeezed orange juice was a nice touch, and they didn’t scrimp on the champagne.
By the time the mimosas arrived, Tim was ready to order. But with so many choices, I needed more time. J.B. Mapes has a wide selection, from sour cream pancakes to grass-fed burgers. I decided I was more in a breakfast mood so went with the omelet ($12), which came with gruyere and fine herbs and a side of frisée. The omelet was light and fresh and definitely not your typical greasy diner omelet. The herbs were plentiful and complemented the gruyere nicely. An all-frisée salad sometimes makes me feel like a cow eating grass, but this one tasted good and made me feel like I was eating something healthy. Therefore, I could have another mimosa!
There was supposed to be a side of crostini, as well, but I didn’t even realize it was missing until the end of the meal, so I didn’t bother to mention it. Tim went with the bistro benedict ($14), which I immediately wanted. The bistro benedict came with pancetta, hollandaise and bordelaise sauce. The English muffin tasted more like a biscuit and was so fresh I wondered if it was homemade. The bordelaise gave this a layer of richness and was a great complement to the pancetta. Several asparagus spears came on top, and they were really fresh and well-cooked. That bistro benedict was so good I wished I had ordered it.
The service was a little slow, but the waiter and chef were apologetic, and I was in no hurry, as it was nice to just relax with my meal and mimosa and spend some time with my friend. Both apologized for the “chaos,” but I never noticed any major problems, so they kept it together well, especially for the first brunch service. They were really nice people too, which always helps smooth over any problems. I enjoyed J.B. Mapes and am looking forward to coming back for dinner. Downtown needed a place like this, and I hope J.B. Mapes is here for the long run.