I was only in Reno long enough for two meals, leaving first thing the morning after the game at the University of Nevada (which I wrote about here), and was a little disappointed that a city where gambling and tourism are the two main industries didn’t have more to offer food-wise. I’m still in Atlanta till tomorrow and will have another food post up on that shortly. In the meantime, check out this week’s episode of my Behind the Dish podcast.
The better of the two meals I had was a reader suggestion, Campo, an Italian restaurant on Sierra that offers pastas, thin-crust pizzas, and house-made charcuterie, using lots of locally-sourced ingredients, so very much my kind of restaurant. They boast of accreditation from the authority in Naples that awards the “VPN” (Vera Pizza Napoletana) badge, but I’d say this is more evidence of how dubious that term is. Campo’s pizza is fine, but not terribly authentic – the crust is by far the best part, thin with the right amount of charring around the edges (but not underneath), probably a little less airy on the rim than it should have been but otherwise boasting good texture. I went with the basic margherita pizza, which had far too much sauce and somewhat too little cheese; the sauce tasted very sweet, like it was made with overripe tomatoes, and the cheese was moisture-reduced rather than truly fresh mozzarella. The server must have thought I was an oddball for scraping so much of the sauce off the pizza, and one of the slices actually had no cheese on it at all – just sauce on dough. The charcuterie was more interesting and even the “small” plate ($12) was generous, featuring mortadella, prosciutto crudo, prosciutto cotto, pork rillette, a hard salami with a name I didn’t catch, a few cubes of pecorino romano, mustard (which he referred to as “our” mustard, so I assume it didn’t come from a jar), and a few pickles, including green beans and garlic. Everything was good, with the prosciuttos and the rillette particular standouts; the worst thing I could say was that the salami was tough because of how thickly it was sliced. I found it the absence of any prosciutto on the pizza options on the menu to be odd, and, since I just ate them together instead, the saltiness helped balance out the sweetness of the sauce. If I end up in Reno another time, I’d try Campo again but would give the pastas a shot rather than another pizza. I do recommend it.
Burger Me is apparently owned by the group behind Campo, and earned mention from Esquire for serving, in their opinion, the best burger in America, as well as showing up on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” I ordered the specific burger that Esquire cited, a bison burger with BBQ sauce and jalapenos, but it just wasn’t anything special: a high-quality burger that was too lean and didn’t have big flavor except from the peppers. The fries were also ordinary – please, people, if you’re going to open a gourmet burger place, the fries are not a damn afterthought. It’s so easy to just hand-cut the fries in back – In-n-Out seems to have no problem doing this – and when I get cheap fries that went from freezer to fryer at a burger place that is trying to sell me on their quality, I want to hire Lionel Hutz and sue them for fraud. I’d skip this stop