Those small eateries tucked into corners of gaming floors are easy to overlook. We all know about the big steakhouses enclosed in their own rooms, but the ones with views of the craps and poker tables with just a few seats are easy to miss.
Red Bloom, however, is demanding attention. Not satisfied with being just another casino restaurant, this Asian kitchen has stepped it up when it comes to both cuisine and cocktails.
In the middle of the gaming floor, find the hostess stand—there are no reservations—and wait to be seated. A small bar and several tables are available in a no-fuss environment. Everything is clean and aesthetically pleasing, but not overly decorated or done.
The bamboo menus, however, nod to the type of cuisine offered inside. Not your typical Asian menu, Red Bloom serves everything from bao buns and edamame to shrimp fried rice and an impressive line-up of dim sum.
If you like spirits, we really recommend not skipping the cocktail list. A long lineup of beer, wine and sake is available, but those mixed drinks are definitely outside of the box.
The Smoke on the Water offers a killer tableside presentation. The dreamy purple liquor is made from Empress Gin, Coconut Nigori Sake, Italicus Bergamotto Rosalio, Canton Ginger Liqueur, fresh lemon juice and Xocolatl Mole Bitters—not exactly items found in your average liquor cabinet. Then, a small device is used to create an oversized bubble atop the glass that, when blown on, erupts into a cloud of smoke. Yeah—we said it was cool.
Most of the cocktails lean on the sweet side. The above tastes a bit like lemonade while even the whiskey-based cocktail is sugared up with hibiscus syrup, vanilla cherry bark bitters and orange peel (Dragon’s Fortune). Sake to Me and Crouching Tiger are fun plays on words while the Lychee Lemon Drop reimagines a classic.
Gaming floor, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
3800 S. Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada 89502
Sunday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Once it’s time to order food, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the options. Best to visit with a big group so everyone can share a variety of plates (and they aren’t small plates either).
Narrowing it down to a few items was rough, but for variety’s sake, we landed on the duck bao buns, Korean beef short ribs and chow mein. Everything came out at once, accompanied by a side of plain rice on the side of the short ribs.
The bao buns were presented almost like tacos, made from the bao dough but displayed like a taco shell wrapped around the tender duck (cooked medium), roasted jalapeño plum sauce (that offered flavor but no spice) and daikon radish slaw.
The chow mein was especially tasty, a heaping pile of warm wheat noodles that were neither greasy nor salty the way some chow mein comes out. The large chunks of whole vegetables were a nice addition, instead of chopped pieces, and on top a mound of carrot shavings added more texture than flavor. If you’re looking for protein, order it up with chicken, beef or shrimp.
The bone-in Korean beef short ribs were cooked to perfection. Juicy and full of flavor, the only downfall is you’ll need to be a master to cut it up with the supplied knife and chopsticks, unless you’re willing to put your pride aside and ask for a fork (or honestly, just a sharper knife would do). The side of mixed vegetables are doused in a vinegar-heavy dressing that resembles a traditional cucumber salad and feels downright refreshing after the heavier items.
Overall, every dish was done well, and with so much variety, it certainly didn’t feel like we even scratched the surface on the restaurant’s offerings. Our server even recommended the ramen, asserting every offering on that list was better than the next. A long list of dim sum and starters went untouched.
Especially helpful is the menu key, indicating how spicy dishes are (from zero peppers to three peppers) and whether or not it’s vegetarian.
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. She graduated from California State University Sacramento with a bachelor’s in English and is pursuing her master’s in Professional Journalism as we speak. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.