On a recent trip up through Indiana I had occasion to stop in Noblesville for dinner at a small chain restaurant called Stone Creek Dining. They have 6 locations in Indiana and Ohio and they describe themselves as being “upscale but casual”.
The Noblesville location is in one of those trendy outdoor malls that are popping up all over the country and my initial drive through the area left me with more than a little bit of trepidation.
Once I made my way through the revolving doors I was reassured. Wood, stainless steel and long dark curtains gave the place a warm air, and the high ceilings gave it just a touch of drama.
I ended up sitting at a table in the bar area and Pacers basketball was playing quietly on the big screen, which gave the place a local friendly vibe.
My waiter was helpful and pointed out some things that he really liked on the menu, but he was aiming at a little heavier meal than I was interested in so I made some of my own choices. He did bring me some bread to start and brought out some of their custom flavored olive oil as a condiment for the bread. He explained that it was infused with sun-dried tomatoes, spices and a little bit of jalepeno for just a touch of heat.
When he poured it out, it was roughly the color of Carolina BBQ sauce and just a touch thinner. I was intrigued to say the least. I have never seen reddish-orange olive oil before.
While interesting, it was too sweet for my taste and there was not enough heat in there to counteract it so I ended up snacking on the bread by itself. The bread was very good!
I started with a sesame crusted, seared tuna appetizer with a soy based dipping sauce and a sweet horseradish mustard dipping sauce all served on Napa slaw.
The tuna was fresh, tasty and cooked well. I really liked the horseradish mustard sauce and the soy sauce had a citrus/ponzu twist on it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but it was likewise tasty. The Napa slaw was a bit bland and could have used some kind of oriental vinaigrette to liven it up a touch.
I opted for the Black and Bleu Salad for dinner. It was marinated skirt steak on romaine with roasted red peppers, bleu cheese crumbles and a couple of pieces of grilled asparagus to crown the salad.
Stone Creek is obviously a restaurant that is comfortable with steak. It was unapologetically medium rare, as I had ordered it, but they had still managed to get a good char on the meat. Skirt steak does tend to be a bit tough but the marinade helped with that. Once again, I did feel like that the treatment was a bit sugary. I think the chef has a sweet tooth.
The roasted red peppers tasted like they had been done on premises and the asparagus was a perfect touch for the top, with again just the right amount of char and very simply seasoned.
The salad was not overdressed and the contrast between the cold, crisp romaine and the hot steak worked very nicely. I also liked the fact that they were not miserly with the bleu cheese. I definitely was in need of a mint on the way out the door!
Service was good and attentive, while not being too cloying.
The menu runs the gamut from steak to seafood but with a couple of exceptions, nothing terribly adventurous. The roasted marinated beet salad with goat cheese fritters, pistachios and grapefruit is certainly interesting and will be on the list for when I come back.
Entrees run from $15 to $30 and the food quality was very high. I would qualify it as suitable for a romantic night out and probably pretty close to a madhouse on the weekends!
Available to book on OpenTable here.
Stone Creek Dining Company
13904 Town Center Boulevard
Noblesville, IN 46060