Louis’ Basque Corner in Reno

by | Nov 29, 2010 | Cocktails, Restaurant Overviews, Travel

If you happen to be planning a visit to Reno, Nevada, driving through, or live in the area, for a change of pace you might want to consider eating at Louis’ Basque Corner restaurant. Louis’ serves traditional Basque food family style on long communal tables that you may be sharing with others. For about $25 per person, you are served a seven course dinner by servers wearing Basque dancing outfits. If you fancy a fine restaurant with impeccably trained servers, this isn’t the place for you.

One of my favorite things at Louis’ is the Picon punch. The Picon punch is a very strong concoction and the first one can take a while to drink, but you’ll love the second one!  The Picon punch is one of those drinks that will cure you if you’re ailing. I found this out last year when I had a very bad cold. The over-the-counter meds I was taking didn’t do a thing for me, but after a couple of Picon punches I was feeling great! I have provided the Picon punch recipe below. Be warned: It’s not a drink for sissies.

Picon Punch at Louis’ Basque Corner in Reno, NV

At Louis’ the entrees of the day are listed on a board on the wall before you get into the dining room. The entrees and one of the sides change daily. The Koopmann’s from Sunol, Bonde-Master’s from Livermore, other stragglers, and I usually eat there on a Wednesday night during the California Cattlemen’s/CattleWomen’s convention. On these Wedndesday nights the choices of entrees have included steak, shrimp in garlic sauce, sweetbreads (bovine glands), lamb chops, and pork chops. The dinner that we are normally served includes:

French bread, beef barley soup, tossed green salad, Basque beans, French fries, tongue, entree, dessert, which was ice cream or fresh fruit and cheese. A carafe of wine is also served with dinner. Other nights you might find oxtail or rabbit on the menu.

This year the Picon punch gave me the courage to try to the beef tongue. I used to eat beef tongue sandwiches when I was a kid, but over the years have lost the nerve to eat it. It was actually very good at Louis’. The Picon punch, however, did not give me the courage to try the sweetbreads. Those that ordered them did say they were great.

Soup and Salad at Louis’ Basque Corner

Beef Tongue at Louis’ Basque Corner

Basque Beans

Dry Sweetbreads (left) and Sweetbreads in Sauce (right)

Lamb Chops

Shrimp in Garlic Sauce

Cheese and Fruit Dessert Cup

Empty Picon Punch Glasses Line the Table

Picon Punch

 – Serves one

In Nevada, the Picon punches are served in a special glass. Check out the Louie Picon Glass Company website for retail locations, additonal recipes, stories, and photos. I found the Amer at BevMo.


  • Ice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine or Torani pomegranate syrup
  • 1-1/2 to 2 ounces Picon (from France) or Torani brand Amer
  • Shot of seltzer water
  • Splash of brandy
  • Lemon twist (peel only)


Fill a Picon glass (OK, any glass will do) with ice. Pour in the teaspoon of grenadine. Pour in the Picon or Amer. Pour in the shot of seltzer water and stir. Top with the splash of brandy. Rub the rim of the glass with the lemon twist and drop the twist into the punch. 

Basque Proverb:

Adiskide onekin, orduak labur.

“Time flies when you are among friends.”