My wife and I are fond of saying that stolen moments are among the best you can have, and we engaged in some thievery tonight.
All of our children had evening plans but we needed to pick one of them up from a school event at 8. We decided to sneak out for an hour or two alone rather than going home to sit on the couch and than play taxi!
Someone had given us a $50 gift card at Stoney River, which is a regional chain with locations here in Nashville, but also in Annapolis, Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, St. Louis and Towson. It is an upper, mid-level steakhouse with a fair nod to seafood on the menu.
The decor is dark and features lots of polished wood. It definitely reeks of a boy’s club.
We didn’t have time for a full dinner, so we opted to split some appetizers. We ordered the crab cakes, a tomato mozzarella salad and the house made potato chips with cream sauce and blue cheese crumbles.
The crab “cakes” are misnamed. It is basically a loosely shaped pile of blue crab meat lightly seasoned and sitting atop a lemon caper cream sauce. It was heavenly and it was great fun to see my wife’s eyes get big when the waiter brought the plate out. Apparently she didn’t see on the menu where it said “no bread crumbs”. The crab was firm and sweet and the cream sauce was a great balance of rich and lightly acidic with a pleasant amount of salt from the capers.
I hesitate to call the tomato mozzarella salad a caprese because it was served with a huge pile of thin sliced, deep fried onions. They took up half of the fairly large plate and outmuscled the salad. The tomatoes were thick cut and average, the buffalo mozzarella was good but the basil was a fine chiffonade and I think they could have used a more liberal hand there. Stoney river also added some diced bacon to the equation which was nice. The “balsamic vinaigrette” was a huge disappointment and it verged more toward a barbecue sauce than a balsamic. A trip to the grocery and I could make a far better rendering of this on my own and I am not a great cook.
The homemade chips were a decadent pleasure, but I would have preferred more blue cheese crumbles and a bit less of the bechamel sauce. The serving size was ludicrous and we did not even make a dent in the serving.
Service was pleasant and attentive and the waiter had a knack for showing up just when we needed him but not before. He had explained in his preamble that they were known for their steaks, so perhaps I should have taken that as a cue when we ordered.
On the whole, Stoney River wavered in the B minus/C plus range for me but if all I had ordered was the crab cake, I would have been ecstatic and singing a very different song here.
For now, I will wait for another gift card and reserve judgment until I can eat a whole meal there.