La Pasta Bistro7499 Longley Lane Suite B
Reno, NV 89502
When the word “pasta” comes to mind, I think about Italian food. When I hear the word “bistro,” I think of French food—or at least a little French influence. So, it is confusing to me to hear both words in the same name. It sounds like an identity crisis.
La Pasta Bistro, located in the same building as Café de Thai, is new to Reno and offers inexpensive, light Italian food. The interior is modern, with a small dining room, a comparable size patio and an upstairs dining room that looks like it’s designed for large parties.
My date, Cherie, and I stopped by for a late afternoon lunch at about 1:30 p.m., but I didn’t realize that they closed at 2 p.m. Normally, I wouldn’t stay if they’re about to close, but since they are open from 5 until 8 at night for dinner, I wouldn’t expect them to close down for three hours. I think they might lose some business that way, and what is the point of closing for only three hours? On the other hand, if a restaurant is accepting money from customers, customers should demand exactly the same service and food a half-hour before the restaurant closes as they would expect a half-hour after it opens.
The menu at La Pasta Bistro is limited to a small selection of salads, one sandwich, eight pasta dishes, some bread and two desserts. It looks like somebody threw the menu together in a matter of minutes—it’s not very well thought out. We had a hard time finding something that we liked because there wasn’t enough variety on the menu.
I ordered the small Caesar salad ($2.50) and the gnocchi pesto Genovese ($5.95). Cherie ordered the small mista salad ($2.50) and the eggplant panini ($5.95). The Caesar was OK. It tasted like dressing out of a jar, croutons out of a box and powdered parmesan cheese—nothing to get excited over. The lettuce was nice and fresh, though. The plate it was served on was what I would consider to be a suitable bread and butter plate, thus explaining the $2.50 price.
My gnocchi was described on the menu as “potato dumplings prepared in a fresh pesto sauce with basil, pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes finished with a touch of cream parmesan cheese.” I’m not sure about you, but I’ve never heard of cream parmesan cheese. The dish was actually a bowl of a thick, pasty, roux-based sauce with potato dumplings, a couple of sun-dried tomatoes and some flavorless green specks. It needs improvement.
Cherie’s mista salad was baby greens, gorgonzola cheese, fresh pears, candied pistachios and Dijon dressing. It was a decent salad, but Cherie complained that the dressing tasted like pure mustard. Her panini was pretty good. I had a bite of it, and I think it tasted fine. Everything including the ciabatta roll it was served on tasted fresh.
Overall, the food was average. The portions are very small, but the prices are reasonable for the size. After we finished eating, we were still hungry, but the server had just flipped the closed sign in front of us, so we had to go somewhere else to satisfy our appetites.
With a little more variety here and possibly some French influence, this could be a hoppin’ little spot. Hopefully, La Pasta Bistro will adapt to people’s demand and make it as a quaint southtown eatery.