Like a rock
I love granite. I see it, and I think, “Oh, you’re strong, you’re beautiful and not likely to go anywhere real soon.” However, it’s riddled with little fissures, and if tap-tap-tapped the right way, will crumble in your hands.
I visited the Old Granite Street Eatery for the first time on a recent Saturday with my wife, Kat, my brother, Eric, and friends Matt and Leigh. I’d like to temper what’s about to follow by saying this newly opened restaurant has more promise than any place I’ve eaten in the past year. It’s hardly dialed in yet, but it brings an infectious liveliness to downtown Reno.
We arrived during a busy stretch and without reservations. Instead of waiting for a booth, we sat at the community table. This is where you want to sit. Made from reclaimed barn doors and stained a rich brown, the community table is stunning. It’s also about 15 feet long, so when you sit down you feel dwarfed by the thing. In fact, a lot of the decorations, including the exquisite antique bar, are oversized. The walls are austere and, in general, the place is very simple, but enviably well done.
The service was a medley of sorts. It was wholly friendly and inviting. With just about one employee for every diner, our glasses were constantly tended. This gave me more opportunity to sample the 12 craft beers on tap. However, keep your eyes on those industrious servers because I had my appetizer plate and silverware snatched away before I finished eating.
Our first appetizer was devils on horseback ($7), three bacon-wrapped dates each stuffed with an almond and a touch of blue cheese and then fried until crispy. They’re spendy, but what a delicious start to the meal. Next we tried the charcuterie plate ($12), which is a bevy of pork products. That evening’s selection was thin-sliced prosciutto, coppa, and pork rillettes plated alongside some shriveled sweet pickles, sliced radish, spicy mustard and crostini. Frankly, it looked unappealing, and tasted greasy and bland.
For entrees, Matt and Eric both ordered the flank steak with green beans and shoestring potatoes ($22), Leigh the fettuccine in a sundried tomato arrabbiatta sauce ($11), Kat the pork chop ($18), and I picked the grilled chicken with quinoa and sautéed mushrooms ($19).
The flank steak isn’t a cut of meat that will melt on your tongue, but they seasoned it up beautifully and grilled it to a perfect medium rare. Leigh’s plate of freshly made fettuccine with a light, slightly spicy sauce made from sun-drenched tomatoes just screamed summer.
Kat’s pork chop was a treat and spread with a fantastic apple and onion relish on top and served atop a turnip puree. My chicken was delicious, and in spite of being ridiculously over-salted, I’d unhesitatingly order it again. The skin was grilled until crispy and the meat remarkably tender.
For dessert, Kat and I split a disappointing berry crisp ($8). The mix of strawberry, blueberry and raspberry was very colorful and flavorful, but the topping was near-petrified.
As we sat expecting the bill, we noticed our server had clocked out and was drinking at the bar. I asked another server if it was cool if we paid, and he simply said, “I thought you already had.”
On the surface, this place seems incredibly solid, but it’s got little flaws running throughout. It’s a good thing not a single one is insurmountable because I’m excited for the Old Granite Street Eatery’s long stay in Reno.