THE PLACE: Among people who know me, I’m famously averse to mornings. My doctor has diagnosed Morning Syndrome: He says it’s bad for my health to be out of bed before 10 a.m. I try to follow my doctor’s orders.
But every once in a while, a very late night turns into an early morning — or an ungodly early appointment requires me to unselfishly put my health at risk — and I find myself up at the breakfast hour.
When that happens, I often head to the Grille, the 24-hour restaurant at the Gold Dust West, for some good ole rib-sticking American coffee shop food.
THE GRILLE AT GOLD DUST WEST RENO
Address: 444 Vine St.
Hours: 24 hours daily
On the web:www.gdwcasino.com/reno
What’s $10 or less: Everything but some main courses (mainly seafood and beef).
THE LOOK: The Grille lies up a short flight of steps from the casino floor. The dining room sports plenty of tables with comfortable chairs. A case offering caes and other pastries rises in the center of the room; there’s also one behind the counter at the register.
THE MEAL: The other morning, I’m upright during the breakfast shift (for the first reason). It’s Gold Dust West time. Breakfast is the one meal I don’t mind eating alone, so it’s going to be just me, my eggs and the news on my iPhone.
I’m fairly familiar with the Grille’s menu, but I see some dishes that either are new or that I haven’t noticed before, like Caprese eggs Benedict and primavera macaroni and cheese.
This a.m., however, I’m sticking with what I know. First up is an 8-count of chicken wings that arrive crisp and hot from the fryer, backed by their classic adjutants: celery sticks and ranch dressing. The menu says the wings are Buffalo, but they’re not tossed in Buffalo hot sauce. They’re more like seasoned wings.
The Grille has served its breakfast burrito for years. It features a plus-size flour tortilla engorged with a scramble of sausage, egg and green onion. The burrito used to be topped only by green chili sauce (similar to pork chile verde sauce), but now you get a choice of green or red chili. A flurry of cheese finishes things off.
I’m nearly full after the wings and a go at a side of fries (I shouldn’t have ordered), so I take home half of the rich, gooey, nicely messy burrito. The leftovers become a midnight snack.
KUDOS: Two people can easily dine for $20 at the Grille. And one person, as my breakfast demonstrates, can easily overeat for the same amount. Also, a bag accompanies the to-go box (you’d be surprised how often you have to ask for one).
QUIBBLES: Even after years of being a customer, I still can’t figure out the staffing of the Grille. Sometimes, there seems to be a surplus of waitresses but only one serving customers (creating a long wait). Other times, like my recent visit, service is quick and food comes out right away
ALTERNATIVES: American breakfast (three eggs; bacon, sausage or ham; home fries; toast or biscuit); Cobb salad; a Maui melt (grilled Canadian bacon, pineapple, teriyaki sauce); a pastrami melt; a huge chicken fried steak.
RETURN TRIP?: I’ve only ever been to the Grille for breakfast. I should probably drop by one of these days for lunch. I’m out of bed by lunch.