Foundation of food

Bricks’ chicken pesto is sprinkled with roasted pine nuts and rests on a cheesy bed of fettucine.

Bricks’ chicken pesto is sprinkled with roasted pine nuts and rests on a cheesy bed of fettucine.

Photo By David Robert

Bricks Restaurant & Wine Bar

1695 S Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89502

(775) 786-2277

It was a Friday night, so Bob called ahead for a “They told me we didn’t really need [one] because they aren’t busy,” he said. “But I still had them put us down.”

When Bob gave his name, the hostess led us into the dining area. The booths lining the back of the restaurant were filled. We were seated at a small two-person table in the exposed center of the restaurant. “So much for our reservation,” we both said.

Mirrors and sectioned glass made the atmosphere at Bricks dizzying in a carnival funhouse sort of way. It seemed an idiosyncratic decorating choice for a restaurant with brick walls, wooden pillars and earthy-toned tapestries.

A server promptly arrived at our table. She was professional: not too friendly, not too cold. Hands behind her back, she recited the evening’s specials like a Shakespearean monologue. Her timing and timbre were appropriately eloquent, building up certain dishes and letting others speak for themselves.

Bob, a proponent of the “you’re supposed to have wine” and “you’re supposed to have an appetizer” rules of fine dining, tried to convince me to indulge in both. Refusing to submit to any cuisine commandments but wanting to feel a little experimental, I opted for the five onion soup ($5) as a warm-up to the main course. Bob went for the lobster corn chowder ($6). (While we waited about 35 minutes for our soups, the mirrors proved useful for discretely watching conversations within the restaurant.)

I wasn’t always a lover of onions, but some fantastic onion-based dishes have warmed me up to their pungent flavor. Bricks’ five onion soup could turn an onion despiser around. Slippery slices of the heady vegetable were suspended in a creamy, peppery sauce and covered with cheese. I would’ve been happy with a vat of it. Bob’s chowder was equally delicious. It was velvety and had at least a tail-and-a-half of meat in it.

The drink server was very attentive to my water glass and Bob’s ice tea. I ask for water without ice because I have cold-sensitive teeth. When the waiter refilled my water, he remembered my ice issue and made sure no whole cubes from the pitcher fell into my glass. It was a conscientious gesture, but pointless since the water was still ice-cold.

Our pasta arrived 10 minutes after we finished our soups. Bob had the fettuccine pescadore ($22), a dish rich with seafood, particularly bulging with scallops. I didn’t try any, but it met with Bob’s approval. My chicken pesto ($20) was impressive. Two whole breasts of chicken lay artfully atop a swirl of fettuccine in a creamy, orangey-red pesto sauce. The chicken was cooked to perfection, and the many pine nuts mixed throughout were meals in themselves: roasted and deeply aromatic—like eating the most beautifully decorated Christmas tree. The parmesan cheese hadn’t been heated to the point of complete meltdown, so there were little pockets of chewy cheesiness here and there to excite my taste buds.

No matter how much I enjoy a main course, the sweet tooth in me guarantees that by the time I reach dessert, I usually think I should have just skipped dinner. The bread pudding in caramel sauce ($6) was so sweet and delectable that I would almost have given up the onion soup for it. Almost, but not quite. The savory dishes at Bricks were scrumptious enough that even the prospect of my favorite dessert couldn’t convince me to omit them.