To die for

Dish is small on square footage, but it’s big on flavor and personality.

Dish is small on square footage, but it’s big on flavor and personality.

Photo By Todd Upton

Dish Café

55 Mill St.
Reno, NV 89502

(775) 348-8264

Just when I thought soggy, bland chain-restaurant food had taken over completely, I stumbled onto something wonderful. My dad and I breakfasted together at Dish Café and left gleefully rubbing our bellies. The ingredients were fresh, the cook was skilled and the food was a testimony to both.

As we entered the small, cozy café, we overheard an elderly woman phoning up a friend to proclaim the goodness of all things Dish: “To die for!” she said, two or three times, “Just to die for!” A man I presumed was her husband watched as my dad and I carefully took our seats at a table near them. As the woman was winding up her conversation, the man approached us.

“I had the grilled ham and cheese sandwich,” he said suddenly, as if unable to contain himself, “and it was to die for. Best one I’ve ever eaten. Really, ever eaten!” He went on to describe the sandwich as “not the slightest bit greasy.”

The café is small (more than a party of four would be impractical) and bright. The tables are covered in flowery tablecloths, and the walls are vivid colors: red, orange, yellow and others. We admired paintings by artist Giovanni Sabatini, creative renderings—all for sale—of Italy and wine and tables of beautiful food that set the tone for a good meal.

The atmosphere is relaxed, and the folks working behind the counter are friendly and industrious. The made-from-scratch baked goods, on display nearly everywhere (dieters beware!) were proof of this—chocolaty, creamy, sensuous proof. Capable hands moved about preparing dishes made with fresh, organic vegetables and breads and “organic, free-range eggs from Happy Chickens.” My dad had a simple scrambled eggs, bacon and toast breakfast ($6.95). The eggs were steam scrambled and came out light and fluffy. His toast was so yummy he actually insisted I take a bite—of toast! His bacon was crispy from beginning to end.

I had the “real organic oatmeal” ($4.50, with raisins). They’re not kidding: It’s real, it’s organic, and it’s oatmeal. The oats were large and, even after half an hour, refused to go soggy on me. In addition, they had a flavor I couldn’t quite pin down. Oats, I guess. I didn’t know oats even had a taste, but there it was, hard to pin down, unfamiliar, but wholesome and good all the same. The raisins were some of the biggest and sweetest I’ve ever encountered, and I wondered whether they spent the first part of their lives as “Happy Grapes.” The portions were just right. We left behind no wasted food tucked slyly beneath napkins, yet were both wholly content without feeling swollen and ill, as is sometimes the case in this land o’ plenty.

Other delectables on the menu include the “hot mama” sandwich ($7.50), sliced chicken breast, roasted peppers, provolone; the “salad fabuloso” ($8.95) warm brie on toasted ciabatta, sliced red apple, toasted pecan and organic field greens with balsamic vinaigrette, lavender and honey ($8.95); and various quiches with organic and creative goodies that Dish promises will “make you smile.”

Dish also does catering: birthdays, corporate lunches, cocktail parties, special dinners, you name it. For dessert or delivery orders, they need 24 hours notice, but a batch of their buttery brownies or their roasted-eggplant-and-goat-cheese spread would certainly be worth the wait.