Peony is a new Chinese restaurant on Mae Anne Avenue west of Robb Drive in Reno. The menu looks like a conventional Chinese restaurant with a variety of Chinese cuisine: Cantonese, Sichuan, Hong Kong, New York and others. The execution, though, is excellent and it could be a contender for best Chinese restaurant in the area.
I learned about Peony in a report by Reno Gazette-Journal food writer Johnathan Wright.
I had time on Saturday to check it out. Johnathan talked about Malaysian influences on the menu, but it didn't really jump out at me. I ended up ordering soft shell crab with spicy salt for an appetizer and a lamb with black pepper hot plate.
The appetizer was clearly crab and not krab when it arrived. It had been coated and fried but it was still in the shape of crab claws. It had some vegetables with it, I think scallions. The coating is similar to a salty/spicy shrimp dish they make at Soochow. It's tasty and I liked the appetizer and would order it again. If I had to give it one rap it would be that I think it's been frozen. It doesn't taste 100 percent fresh. I still enjoyed the dish.
Then the sizzling plate of lamb arrived. It looks just like Korean bul go gi. It had black pepper and was lightly spiced with what I believe are the dry red peppers used in Kung Pao dishes. The outside was well done, almost charred, but the inside was remarkably tender. This was a standout lamb dish and one I heartily recommend to fellow Chowhounds. It was the second time I've had lamb in a Chinese restaurant. The other time was in the Monterey Park area east of Los Angeles. That dish was from the western area of China, the region that borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, This seemed maybe more Mongolian or Korean. It was a special dish.
Peony also has an extensive wine list, although I'm sure how well the cabernet sauvignon or merlot will go with Chinese food. Not a single riesling or gewurztraminer on the list. I got a glass of a domestic white, a chenin blanc/viognier blend. I can't remember the producer but it was okay with the meal.
With the tip, my meal came to almost $45. Not something I can do every day. Peony is a very nice restaurant, based on the one meal I've had there. And they don't look too busy yet. Soochow is closer and cheaper, so it will still be my No. 1 Chinese restaurant. Peony has great potential for exploring different dishes.
6340 Mae Anne Ave.
Reno, NV 89523