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Experience a new menu at La Condesa Eatery

By Nora Tarte
Published: Last Updated on

Wells Avenue’s latest dinner spot

La Condesa Eatery is the new kid on the block.

It opened at the end of March in the previous location of Plaza Maya. The fusion restaurant offers food with a Spanish, Korean and Italian influence, turning out dishes that are both inventive and delicious.

Instead of resting on the idea that it’s one of several places to get your go-to meals, the masterminds behind the Wells Avenue business have focused on one-of-a-kind fare you can’t get at just any restaurant in Reno.

Wednesday through Sunday, the spot is open for dinner service from 5-10 p.m. (and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). The décor looks more Spanish inspired, including the colorful logo painted on the back wall (a skull blooming with pink, purple and red florals) and much of the food matches that theme. 

Upon sitting down, we were promptly brought a complimentary appetizer of chilaquiles (chips slathered in sauce and sprinkled with cheese), called Totopos on this menu. A friendly server took orders for drinks and food and everything came out swiftly.

For a new restaurant, the prompt—and attentive—service was beyond expectations during a time period where many eateries are struggling to get it right.

The dinner menu isn’t overly long, contained to a single, large page, but its offerings span the globe and flavor profiles. You can choose to start with Spanish octopus, charcoal-grilled and finished with salsa, heirloom potatoes, chorizo, black garlic oil and frisee. Or you can dine on Korean barbecue pork belly fried rice made with an aromatic jasmine rice and fried egg.

That’s only the beginning of the small plates, which include Korean pork belly hot buns and mushroom paella. 

La Condesa Eatery's bucatini al cilantro.
La Condesa Eatery’s bucatini al cilantro with avocado, braised spinach and slices of Spanish chorizo. Image: Nora Tarte / This Is Reno

Personally, we opted for a pasta dish (harder to share but a smaller dining portion) dubbed bucatini al cilantro. For those who don’t know, bucatini is a thicker spaghetti-like noodle. I’ve never quite had pasta like this, featuring warm chunks of avocado, braised spinach, Spanish chorizo (that looks a bit like thin pepperoni slices) and Pecorino romano cheese.

The sauce was creamy and decadent without feeling greasy, and the pasta was cooked to perfection, presented in a sleek black bowl. You can use the small side plates to split the dish with others.

Moving on to larger entrees—and past the other small plates including creamy garlic shrimp toast and lobster-risotto croquettes—burgers, salads and tacos round out the menu. 

The thing about La Condesa is everything offers a twist to make it stand out. The burgers aren’t served with American cheese and Thousand Island dressing. Instead, diners have two choices: a teriyaki cheeseburger (featuring wasabi mascarpone and smoked pork belly) and the deviled cheeseburger (with ghost pepper jack and roasted jalapeño aioli).

The tacos were our second choice. Mushroom lovers will rejoice over the umami flavors of the exotic mushroom al pastor and its slightly sweet, caramelized pineapples, while those who like seafood can chow down on fish tacos made with white bass and a Pacifico beer batter. 

For us, it was the 1855 tri-tip alambre, a decadent and organic corn tortilla filled with juicy roasted tri-tip, kurobuta pork belly, poblano, red and gold peppers, onions, Oaxacan cheese and salsa.

For cocktails, it’s hard to go wrong. There are quite a few Mezcal-based concoctions that caught our eye. The focus in general is on seasonal ingredients and trendy flavors that are always fresh. A nod to the Italian side, a mixture of Coca-Cola and red wine–known as a kalimotxo–is a unique and suggested find.

Everything tried was delicious and unique—there isn’t even another place around I could accurately compare it to. The other taco shops may feature similar options but they don’t even touch on the rest of the menu.

On a chilly April evening, the indoor atmosphere was nice and cozy. An open concept kitchen brings a liveliness to the dining room that isn’t overbearing, and music videos play in the background. Music-centric artwork, including a line-up of celebrity mug shots, accent the space.

We have a feeling the real draw, however, will be the patio on warmer days and summer evenings. Illuminated by strings of twinkling lights and wine bottles filled with fairy lights, the outdoor tables sit in a courtyard space that feels secluded from busy Wells Avenue without losing the ambiance of dining in Midtown.

Details

1644 S. Wells Ave., Reno, Nev. 89502
775-409-3000
Wednesday – Sunday 5 to 10 p.m.

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