After doing a quick search for places to eat breakfast in Reno, I was surprised to find a restaurant that I have never heard of before let alone it was rated as top 10 places to have breakfast. I just had to see for myself if their signature chicken fried steak was good enough to warrant such high honors.
A short drive from the highway you will find Big Ed's Alley Inn on fourth street down from the intersection of Sutro and 4th. The neighborhood might make some people think twice about going, but I assure that you should think twice and have yourself a meal here.
The menu includes a good array of simply named breakfast items that tell it like it is. From the traditional Ham & Eggs, to French Toast, Omelets to their waitress recommended Chicken Fried Steak, their breakfast menu is mostly standard. Since several other reviews mentioned their Chicken Fried Steak and the waitress recommended it, that was my pleasure.
While waiting for my food I was impressed upon the little things that make a good restaurant. For starters the dining room was spotless. Ever look up at the air vents and get grossed out by all the yuck that is sticking to the ceiling, not here. If I didn't know better I would have sworn the place just had a major top to bottom fire hose flush out the place. But my trip to the bathroom was a major disappointment with grime on the top of the paper towel holder. Since this was at eye level there was no excuse.
Enough about how clean the place is, the waitress proudly brought the food and I dove in with high expectations. The eggs were cooked exactly like I asked for them, which I can tell you has happened about three times in my entire life. The cook took the necessary time to fully cook the whites, while leaving just the yolks fluid. Double thumbs up for that as I know from experience that it takes a much lower temperature pan to get the whites thoroughly cooked and avoid the yolks from becoming hard.
The chicken friend steak was topped and was resting on a bed of country gravy, with bits of sausage mixed in. A bit floury for my taste as the rue did not cook long enough to remove the flour taste, but the consistency was excellent and stick to your ribs in a good way. Again the breading on the steak was also a bit too floury. It was seasoned well, but still had a clear flour aftertaste. The meat itself was as tender as 10 thousand whacks with a meat cleaver can do. Not a bit of gristle to ruin the texture. Big Ed's uses quality meats.
As for the home fries it went down hill from there. Way down hill as the potatoes were dried out, giving me the impression that they had been sitting their on the grill waiting to be plated for far longer than they should have been. Several potato slices were actually hard. As for the taste, very very good. It was a shame really. I had to eat them all up, just for the flavor alone. I can't wait to go back and get them again. Hopefully next time they will not have waited so long to find a home.
The price was on the higher side, but I suspect Big Ed's uses better than average ingredients, so that makes up for the comparable prices as to the legendary Pegs. I can say one thing, Pegs has nothing on atmosphere compared to Big Ed's. I felt at home here, nothing like the two Pegs locations. Something like PJs & Co, but actually more real and less flashy.
To sum it up I am going back for sure. I want to try their Ruben for lunch next. So far nearly every restaurant / deli in Reno has proven to have no idea what a Ruben should taste and feel like in your mouth, so lets hope its good.