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Italian steakhouse opens at J Resort

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When J Resort reopened in the old Sands Regency, it was met with much fanfare. The renovations focused heavily on an improved guest experience and integration of art both inside and outside of the resort.

The west Fourth Street casino also promised to bring varied cuisine to its guests by opening a duo of brand-new restaurants named for the children of owner Jeff Jacobs. 

The fine dining option at J Resort was dubbed J Paul Italian Steakhouse, a traditional casino steakhouse offering a bit of extra flair and a surprisingly robust menu.

The moody space offers plush, red booths reminiscent of an old-school Italian restaurant where one could imagine Mafia dealings took place. The lighting is dim but the chef’s workspace, located behind glass, is lit up, creating a modern centerpiece. On each side of the semi-open kitchen is a dry-age case to be filled with meats to serve to hungry guests.

The menu offers indulgent steaks and chops with a contemporary flair. Order up a 50-day, wet-aged NY Strip or Colorado lamb chops or give in to the creativity created by Executive Chef Scotty Bournival, who prepared meals at several Reno country clubs prior to taking on this gig.

The Wagyu filet mignon is a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth option. There’s also a trio of filets—the filet mignon flight—that includes the aforementioned wagyu as well as bison.

The fish selections are equally impressive with a long list of options ranging from lobster tails and crab legs to Chilean sea bass and branzino. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be an Italian steakhouse without a vigorous pasta menu. The basics are all here—gnocchi, spaghetti, rigatoni, bucatini and linguini. 

Bournival has plans for dishes incorporating rabbit and quail as well as pastas and desserts that give unexpected ingredients a new life.

When available, the lobster mac and cheese is a crowd-pleaser. It’s creamy and decadent with a subtle crust. For a starter, the burrata is also delicious, with little toasts piled high with heirloom tomatoes, arugula, fire-roasted peppadew, grana Padano and an aged balsamic drizzle. Every bite is equal parts crunchy and refreshing.

JP’s meatball is a favorite of the chef. Using beef, veal and pork, he expertly cooks the balls in the sauce for a simmering and tender final product. His other big suggestion? Anything that comes with mashed potatoes.

Desserts are hard to pass up at J Paul, however, convincing yourself to leave room can also be difficult when the food is this good. The after-dinner cigar offers a fun wink at tradition, using a hand-rolled chocolate “cigar” filled with chantilly cream and chocolate raspberry. 

The cheesecake is a J Paul specialty with strawberry cheesecake topped with strawberry sauce, Tahitian vanilla drizzle, strawberry dust and a graham cracker crumble. The filling is rich and creamy; your fork will slide right through.

Drinks throughout the evening are part of the affair for those who choose to indulge. 

A full bar greets customers before they ever step foot into the dining room. There is also an impressive number of wines available to order, and beers, of course, as well.

Nora Tarte
Nora Tarte
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. Nora received her bachelor's in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.

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