It was a Wednesday night and I didn't have any particuler taste for anything specific. I've passed by the Stonewood Tavern & Grill on Baymeadows a few times but never had the chance to eat there so we decided to go there for dinner. I'm very happy we did!
Atmosphere: As you enter the restaurant, to the right is a large bar area with ample seating (good for the happy hour crowds!) The lighing both in the bar and restaurant is good - not bright nor too dark. If you are there to have dinner, the dining room is quite big as well. Seating is very comfortable - what I noticed, is that ALL their tables are in booths to allow for some extra privacy for quiet converstion. From where we sat, we could see into the kitchen - I like this concept of an "open" kitchen; if anything, it promotes sanitary coditions. The decor is is undersated/simple/tasteful with rich wood all over the place - something you would expect in a good steak restaurant.
Menu: The Menu is large with both Meat and Seafood items. The selection for the steaks and seafood is varied and really makes it hard to decide what to eat. (Click here to view Menu) If you like wine, they also have a decent wine selection to go with your meal (they also have a full bar with specialty drinks - from what I'm told the Martini's are very good.)
It was difficult to select an Appetizer - the Flatbrads looked good but we opted for something a little lighter and ordered the Bruchetta - vine ripened tomatoes, basil, infused olive oil (couldn't tell what it was infused with), aged Parmesean atop grilled garlic bread with Balsamic Vinegarette. The tomatoes we very fresh and tasty and overall it was very good. In fact, for my taste, there was no need for the vinegar at all. Then again, this might be the first place that I've been to that serves bruchetta with vinegar. Will I order this again? Yes, but next time I will want to try the Steak and Bleu Cheese Flatbread!
Tracy's entree - 8oz Herb Encrusted Grouper (I think its much larger - look at the size of the filet in the photo!) The grouper was oven roasted perfectly and the fish was moist. Instead of the fresh steamed asparagus that normally comes with the meal, sauteed button mushrooms were substituted. The meal was huge that only about half was all Tracy could manage. The rice pilaf was a little bland (I guess so it would not interfere with taste of the fish...maybe wild rice or yellow rice would make this dish a litte more visually appealing.) The entree gets a recommend!
My entree - I opted for one of the chef's specialties - Grilled Rosemary and Garlic Lamb Chops - Rosemary and Garlic marinated lambchops served atop garlic mashed potatoes, served with fresh steamed asparagus, and finished with a Cabernet demi glace (click for definition.) As you can see, like Tracy, I substituted my asparagus with rice. I ordered my lambchops medium, and they were cooked perfectly (its so easy to over cook lamb chops.) I could hardly discern the marinade flavor, it was very subtle against the strong flavor of the meat. Good thing there was only a drizzle of the demi glace - any more and it would have been too much. I've tried cooking lambchops but never really happy with the result so I leave it to the real pros like this one at Stonewood. The garlic mashed potatoes were pretty good but I prefer mine a little more creamy. As for the rice, I think I shold have stuck with the asparagus :) I would recommend this entree if you are in the mood for lambchops. Next time around I will have one of their oak grilled steaks.
Service - Very Good. I was very impressed with the level of service here. The management has done a great job in training and having a "proper" staff. It is quite noticeable when there are still bus boys to clear your table (hardly see them any more) to make room for the waiters to put your food on the table. OK so here is why I thought service was very good...When we walked in we were immediately taken to our table. Afer being handed the menu, our waiters (YES, 2 of them) asked if we wanted a beverage. We looked over the wine list and I was undecided between 2 Argentine reds and so I asked about them. They knew their wines well and offered to let us taste the wines. I got the one they thought I would like and Tracy got a white that she also tasted before hand. Then came down to the menu choices. The staff is well trained and I believe they all sample the dishes so they can give an informed opinion and so that is how we chose our dishes. Drinks, appetizers, entrees were timed well - not long wait but just enough time to enjoy the ambiance and company. This is how I break it down - Service: very good; Atmosphere: comfortable and good for converstion; Food quality: good; Food presentation: good but can be improved upon. Overall, I like this place and have no hesitation recommeding it!
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