The Vegetarian Option

Reviews of vegetarian dishes.

The Vegetarian Option: Reno

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[Photographs: Amber Gibson]

We obviously love the sandwiches at Reno, but they also have some pretty tasty vegetarian dinner options.

I managed to snag a spot for two at the communal table during prime time on a Saturday night for my first visit. Service was fantastic, although wine connoisseurs might be surprised to see wine served in traditional drinking glasses instead of stems. For what it's worth, the type of glass did not detract at all from the taste of my Lambrusco rosso ($8). I was thrilled with how quickly our food came out. I had barely stood up to take a look at their $2 night pastry case (filled with tempting options like chocolate rhubarb cake and meringue tarts) when our salad and pizza were whisked to the table. Considering I was famished, this was much appreciated.

The sliced green and red apples in the apple salad ($6) pair well with crunchy celery and kohlrabi, with marinated manchego cheese adding a soft touch of much needed saltiness. Apples and cheese are always a good combo, if you ask me.

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Beetza pizza ($11) is nothing at all like a traditional pizza. Whipped tofu takes the place of tomato sauce. It's very subtle in flavor, so the addition of hot sauce (found on each table) adds a nice kick. The crust might be the best part. The center of the pie is crisp and charred, while the edges remain chewy. The simplicity of sweet golden beets really allows the quality of dough to shine, while thyme and toasted hazelnuts add a little earthiness. Other vegetarian options for pizza include a simple Reno pizza with mozzarella, fresh basil and red sauce ($9) or a butternut squash ($11) option with sage, gouda, walnuts and olive oil.

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I'm a sucker for ice cream sandwiches, so I had to try Reno's version ($6), with cardamom buttercream slathered on two kitchen sink cookies and all of this sandwiching a scoop of banana ice cream. The banana flavor comes through strongly, and the ice cream/buttercream combo is different from any other ice cream sandwiches I've had. I would've preferred a ratio with more ice cream, but the differing flavors and textures were interesting. Kitchen sink cookies are studded with dried cranberries, nuts and chocolate chips. I kept hoping to taste a potato chip, but no luck.

Reno

2607 North Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 (map)
773.697.4234
renochicago.com

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