For the last 4 years I have been exploring the Niagara Region to find the most delicious places to eat – last night I added another to my ”favourites” list – the Stone Road Grille in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Not much to look at from the outside, this restaurant is located on the corner of Mary & Stone Road in a strip-mall. Thank goodness you and I know better than to judge a book by its cover!
Once inside the strip-mall vibe vanishes – the sexy, red decor and dark wood furnishings bring a deep and classic feel to the room. It’s intimate but the high ceilings and gold-rimmed mirrors add depth — not to mention the floor to ceiling wine selection behind the bar.
Although my husband and I did not have a reservation, and the place was just about full, we were swiftly seated by the hostess with a smile. Our hostess, whose name unfortunately escapes me, has worked for Stone Road Grille for 3 years and was knowledgeable about the business, explaining that the Grille opened in 2003, and made sure that our visit was smooth and satisfactory.
Our server was also wonderful, honest about portion sizing (suggesting that an individual size could easily serve as an appetizer for two) and very responsive – being available should we need anything, but far enough that we never felt like he was hovering.
The wine list was all VQA and I was really happy to see Featherstone Estate Winery on the wine menu — maybe in the winter the Featherstone Lambs will grace the Stone Road Grille menu. That is a meal I am determined to have this winter.
As a starter we shared the individual size House Charcuterie Plate that included 2 small servings of each of the following:
- Smoked Duck Breast
- Homegrown Tamworth Lardo Crostini
- Chicken Liver Mousse
- Homegrown Berkshire Sopressata
- Tongue Pastrami
- “Boar & Chick” Terrine
- The dish also included home-made mustard (whole seed), marinated olives and pickled asparagus
Had it been socially acceptable to make loud “MmmMmm” noises we wouldn’t have had to whisper our “Mmmm’s” to each other. Although, I am sure that any other patrons in the restaurant – had they looked our way – would have ordered what we were eating. And, I love that the menu had so many unique and delicious items on one plate! The smoked duck breast was the 2nd best I have ever had (2nd to Le Lapin Saute in Old Quebec) but the chicken liver mousse was #1 on the plate — I have never tasted any liver mousse or paté like it. And, I certainly could have enjoyed a few more portions of the pickled asparagus.
As a main I ordered the Catch of the Day which was a bright pink/red sockeye salmon with leeks, potatoes, capers, sea-asparagus and delish beurre blanc. Until this dish I had not ever had sea asparagus. Their taste and texture are not what you might expect by looking at them – they were deliciously crunchy and earthy and I wanted more. I am going to have to keep my eyes open for them the next time I am at the market in Toronto.
My husband ordered what I am calling a Pork ensemble with loin, belly and sausage. It was served with a fresh and zesty pepper salsa, the flavours were phenominal! He also enjoyed a glass of the Niagara College Ale brewed by the students in the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations program. I have never been a beer lover, and this beer was no exception, but hubby mentioned that it was a very ‘hoppy’ beer and close to the top of his local favourites list.
Something else I really liked about the Stone Road Grille is you can choose from a half or full entree with dinner and the prices vary accordingly. I found that the half order was the perfect amount of dinner to go with the starter so that there was just enough room left to share a decadent dessert.
Speaking of dessert, I could not pass up the Cloudberry Creme Brulee served with home-made walnut shortbread. The portion was huge (which in my opinion is perfection) although I could have used more than just the two shortbread cookies on the plate. I am sure that no matter how many they put on the plate, they all would have been gone.
All in all I had a fantastic time at the Stone Road Grille and I will be back. Their menu changes frequently and I could order one of everything if given the chance. Thank you Stone Road Grille for giving my taste-buds a luxury experience I will surely never forget!