We overnighted in Reno on our way up to the Sierras. We had considered stopping in Elko because we had heard that there was good Basque food there. Instead, we ended up there around 3pm hoping for lunch. We found the Basque places -- three of them are within a block of each other on Silver Street. Unfortunately, they all closed at 2. The Star Hotel even had their hours engraved in a wooden plaque by the door, so we figured they were pretty set in their ways and we were out of luck.
Fortunately, as we were searching our GPS for places to eat in Reno, we found a Basque restaurant just down the street from our casino hotel. And so, we ended up dining at Louis' Basque Corner.
Their menu rotates daily, with each day featuring a set first course and a selection of other dishes to order. It was Thursday, so the first course was Chicken Basquaise, and the choices were Rabbit, Calamari, Top Sirloin Steak and Lamb Chops. In addition, they had two (!!) different styles of Sweetbreads available.
The food is served family style, with shared salad and soup and each person ordering a main course to share. The people we were seated with informed us that a Picon Punch was the mandatory drink to start with, and who were we to argue:
Between the six of us at our table, we ended up ordering each of the main courses available that night.
Which resulted in a bit of mayhem at the table as dishes were passed around.
Add shared carafes of a passable red wine and aged jack cheese and ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert, top it off with friendly service and fun table companions, and it was quite the meal. The next time you are in Reno, ditch that casino buffet and head down the road to Louis' Basque Corner:
Louis' Basque Corner
301 E 4th St
The next morning we stopped off at Lake Tahoe on our way up to Sierra City. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we did some hiking around the lake.
We stopped in at Jake's in Tahoe City for lunch (a very good bowl of gazpacho and a nicely cooked, but under-seasoned ono sandwich) and a pint of Sierra.