Jade Garden199 Damonte Ranch Pkwy.
Reno, NV 89521
If you decide to try Jade Garden, go for cocktails before dinner. This is the conclusion my husband and I reached after a disappointing lunch experience at the newly opened establishment located near the corner of Virginia Street and Damonte Ranch Parkway.
The place looks fantastic: beautiful dark wood tables and chairs and a high, black metal rafter ceiling, from which hang numerous banners. The new owners put a lot of effort into the décor. Off to the left is a slick cocktail lounge, with a beautiful black bar, flat screen TVs, seriously classy leather barstools and low booths with low tables, perfect for a relaxing drink. We saw all of this as we entered and afterward wondered if we shouldn’t have just waited for cocktail hour.
Despite being the only two afternoon customers in a restaurant that advertises its terrific lunch deals, we felt like we caught them at a moment when no one onsite was really expecting us. Our server was sweet but somewhat dazed. Initially, she led us to the darkest booth in the house. We asked to move next to the windows, which are large and lovely. And there we sat, the only two customers for the rest of the afternoon. I say this to highlight that it shouldn’t have been that difficult to keep us happy.
One could start with the awkward and blaring elevator music. Turn it off. It was so grating I almost felt myself going gray. Then my husband ordered a Coke, which arrived flat and warm. When he asked for another, the server said, “Oh yeah, was it flat?” I thought she might have mentioned it before if their machine was out of whack. He got another one, but mostly drank from my water glass.
We were hungry and eagerly awaited our appetizer of crab and cheese wontons ($5.95), which were average but edible. I ordered the pad Thai ($10.95) and asked to have it very spicy. To my delight, it was, and very tasty, too. As a person who loves pad Thai and loves her food spicy, I can say from experience that this is often hard to come by. But The Jade Garden’s chef took my request seriously and got this one exactly right. The spices were yummy and the shrimp good-sized. The portion, too, was large. My husband had the lunch special tofu with sesame sauce (with rice and soup, $7.95). We weren’t too crazy about it. The thick and ample sesame sauce was sweeter than we imagined, but this was a fact we could have ascertained prior to ordering by asking a few questions. We’re not big lovers of the sweet sauces, but those who are might find this dish delicious.
Another unfortunate blunder was that our server brought my pad Thai out before my husband’s meal, explaining that his would take longer and she didn’t want mine to get cold. While I appreciate her consideration, how hard is it to prepare two meals simultaneously when they are the only two needing to be prepared? And, truth be told, it’s just plain tacky.
Still, there could be real potential in Jade Garden’s extensive menu with 10 lunch specials and varying daily specials offered during the week. Playing around with different options might be worth a go, especially after the staff works out the kinks. Until then, maybe stick to cocktails in the bar—a round or two might soften the annoyance of the occasional gaffe.