- 101 E. Pueblo St., Reno, NV, 89502
- Overall User Rating:
- (5 ratings)
- 5:30-10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 5-9 p.m. Sunday
- Official Web Site:
Good food and really good prices are sometimes mutually exclusive, but not always.
That's the case at Gas Lamp Restaurant & Bar on the corner of East Pueblo Street and Holcomb Avenue. Nothing is more than $20, but chef-owner Daniel Augello still offers interesting, appealing fare.
The bar has dark wood paneling and an old-fashioned feel. There's a television, of course, but no rowdy, beer-swilling patrons shouting at it. The bar is more martini than margarita, more manhattans than mojito.
The dining room features exposed brick and warmly painted walls. Green shutters block the light, and low lamps and flickering candles give the room a romantic glow.
Augello's menu is small but focused. His inspiration seems to come from many cuisines — grilled shrimp with mango sweet chile sauce, for instance, or jambalaya with andouille, a couple of pasta dishes and a traditional American burger.
Appetizers are generously portioned and successful.
Ahi tuna tartare arrives stacked atop chopped avocado. The plate is painted with a sweet-hot sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Crisp won ton triangles add a satisfying crunch.
Ahi tartare is standard everywhere, but here, the sauce makes the dish, giving it a fiery kick. I find myself licking excess from my fingers.
Grilled prawn cocktail is composed of five large grilled prawns served on a bed of shredded romaine and with a sidecar of mango sweet chili sauce. The shrimp are grilled on the right side of doneness. The mango in the sauces marries successfully with the chili heat, which grows with each bite.
The standout appetizer is a carpaccio of paper-thin smoked salmon slices topped with capers, shaved parmesan, thinly sliced celery, Dijon caper aïoli and a whisper of truffle oil; crusty grilled crostini await the slices.
The flavors meld beautifully, forming a sort of upgraded take on a bagel with lox.
Dinner salads and soups are a steal starting at $4.
I like that the Caesar salad offers bite-size pieces of romaine, not large unwieldy pieces. I also like Gas Lamp's creamy Caesar dressing, applied in just the right amount. Parmesan and chubby housemade croutons finish the dish.
Diners may order jambalaya, the Louisiana classic, as spicy — or not spicy — as they like. My party orders it as the chef prepares it, which is about medium, according to my taste. But I'm an avowed spiceophile, so others might find this version spicier than I did.
The jambalaya is studded with pieces of rich andouille, white fish, three prawns, tomatoes and peppers.
Housemade tortellini are swathed in tomato ragoût and tossed with roasted mushrooms, artichoke hearts, cannellini beans, truffle oil and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
I like the fresh pasta and tomato sauce, and the mushrooms add an earthy dimension. The truffle oil, however, sends this hearty vegetarian dish (great for cool spring nights) just a bit over the top. It needs a splash of something fresh instead — more herbs, perhaps.
Desserts are made by pastry chef Debra Augello, the chef's sister.
A triple berry crisp supplies a medley of marionberries, blackberries and blueberries baked with a cinnamon, granola and brown sugar topping. A scoop of housemade vanilla ice cream tops the dessert. The crisp isn't too sweet, the berries nicely retaining a bit of tartness. I like this departure from super-rich desserts.
Service is friendly and unhurried. The server and hostess are both enthusiastic about the restaurant's menu and offer many suggestions. Courses arrive promptly and in the correct order. The only misstep is that my party's bottle of wine is forgotten for a while, but the server compensates by giving us a glass of wine on the house.
The Gas Lamp is a gem of a restaurant on a sort-of-forgotten corner of Reno.
Restaurants with compelling food, a welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff are always a pleasure to visit. I'll be back for an affordable bottle of wine and that Caesar salad. And next time, maybe I'll tuck into some beef.