Rejoice! San Francisco has made it to Reno. Ciao Pizzeria and Wine Bar, on S. Virginia, will be opening it's doors tomorrow, and will instantly be the hottest, hippest restaurant in Reno, with the best food. There is some serious food talent involved. It's a joint venture between the former owner of Cafe 333, the current chef of Frederick's, and a third restaurant savvy partner. We're not talking chateaubriand and veal oscar. I believe this to be the first establishment in Reno serving cutting edge cuisine. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I wish I knew of other places.
Last night was a private invitation only opening. Ms. Rev and I knew something was different just driving into the mini mall where Ciao is located. It's sign is more modern and the restaurant stands out from the other drab & dreary storefronts usually populating these kinds of malls. When you first enter and gather in the beauty of the restaurant, you can imagine yourself in one of the newest and trendiest restaurants in any big city. There's a very hip bar and an outdoor patio for dining al fresco.
One feature you can't miss is the huge wood burning oven next to the open kitchen in the back of the restaurant. All of the dishes are cooked in that oven. Can it get any better than that?
Although listed as a pizzeria, there are also appetizers, entrees, and desserts. They were serving samplers from each category. Everything was superb. The pizzas,imo, can't be beat. They have a California Wolfgang Puck crust-one you would find at Postrio, not the ubiquitious Puck express cafes scattered in so many airports. No standard pizza toppings. A few of the samplers are: house sausage,fennel,tomato secco,chilies/pancetta,grilled treviso,fontian,smoked tomato sugo/spinache,aglio,romano fantal,sea salt. An appetizer to die for is salt roasted beets, pine nut brittle, fig, and formaggio caprino. We also sampled a tomato caprese crostini. The first entree was very tasty neapolitan meatballs, treviso, and sugo. That was followed by ethereal braised beef shortribs, bitter greens, cipolina, ricotta rabano, and brodo. If you've never seen God in shortribs, this is the dish. Dessert was a moist, wonderful, dark chocolate flourless cake. The rest of the menu looked equally inviting. It will change it periodically.
I didn't see the wine list but considering Cafe 333 earned a wine spectator award, and the owner is an Advanced Sommelier working on her Masters, I would be pretty confident the wine list will carry some very interesting selections in all price ranges.
Ciao Pizzeria + Wine Bar
7111 S. Virginia St.