It’s my party
Reno, NV 89503
Well, happy birthday to me. I had been waiting for an occasion to celebrate at the 4th St. Bistro—I had never been, but had heard good things—and what better occasion than my own birthday?
4th St. Bistro is a fine dining establishment that seeks to serve not only delicious food, but food that leaves one with a good conscience. The menu changes often, since most of the ingredients come from farms, ranches and fisheries that produce fresh, local, organic and seasonal goods. In other words, there is hardly anything on the menu that is not guided by the principles of sustainability.
It is also rather expensive. Still, you get everything you pay for—a positively mouth-watering meal in a refined environment.
As soon as we entered, we were cordially greeted and taken to a table near the window. The atmosphere is elegant yet tranquil. In spite of the white tablecloths, there is nothing stuffy about the place. The walls are a warm terra cotta and adorned with numerous vintage French prints, the entryway is lined with potted herbs and bowls of bright lemons, and the dark oak bar produced some of the yummiest preprandial martinis ($7-$10) I have ever tasted. While I stuck with the old faithful—gin—my husband dared try the Bistro’s special vodka and pear martini. He then promptly ordered another.
As for dinner, we took our time. Our server was patient and offered us as much bread as we could eat. The ciabatta was warm and scrumptious and, yes, local, and the butter made our mouths water. We ate and drank and then did it all over again. Soon, two women came in and were seated near us. One leaned over. “Isn’t this place fantastic?” she said. We nodded enthusiastically, wiping the butter from the corners of our mouths.
I realize that if I go on like this, you might think I am making it up—let me assure you—I am not. Our meal was that good. I chose the pan-roasted northern halibut, with asparagus, saffron quinoa and lemon-caper aioli ($30). The fish was excellent and the saffron the perfect added touch to the delightful crunch of quinoa. My husband had the grilled Mahi Mahi with sugar snap peas, coconut rice and mango salsa ($28), which was just the right texture. He ate every bite and declared that it was—even after consideration—the best meal he had ever eaten in Reno. My father, ever the carnivore, devoured his grilled filet mignon ($40), and even beckoned us to watch as he sliced through it with barely an effort. It was, in his words, “perfect.” My mother delighted in her roast breast of Sonoma County “Liberty” Duck with Tuscan kale, maple yams and (oh my goodness!) candied kumquats ($29). After we had finished, we stared at each other in shock for a few moments.
Then we ordered dessert. After all, it was my birthday. I had the rhubarb, orange and almond crumble with strawberry buttermilk ice cream ($8), and my husband chose the bittersweet chocolate mousse ($8). My parents had something, but I was so busy relishing that prickly blend of sweet and tart flavors in my own meal that I completely forgot to taste theirs. Most likely the menu will change by the time I am able to visit 4th St. Bistro again—since it is pricey enough to warrant a special occasion—but I have no doubt that whatever I find, I will savor to the last.