Taste of the Town: Stonehouse Grill is a rock solid choice

Steve Novak is a Westlake resident and 30-year veteran in the restaurant industry, working at all levels from dishwasher to manager to chef/owner. For the past ten years, he has been working as a personal chef and raising his two young children as a stay-at-home dad. Once a month, Steve will visit a Westlake/Bay Village restaurant and use his years of expertise and knowledge to provide honest, unbiased reviews. He makes two anonymous visits per restaurant and does not except complimentary meals.

If you live in Westlake or Bay Village and haven't been to the Stonehouse Grill, you're missing a wonderful casual dining experience. From the moment you enter, you're treated with a warm greeting and smiling faces that really start things off on a positive note.

It's a quaint, one-room restaurant with a partition wall that separates the dining area from the bar. Booths and tables adorn the dining area, while tables and high top cocktail table surround the U-shaped bar. They also have a patio for when the weather warms up.

My three dining companions and myself started the evening off with the Hawaiian Nachos ($6.99) for something different, and we were not disappointed. The dish consisted of tortilla chips topped with tomatoes, black olives and pineapple, then smothered with Monterrey/cheddar cheeses and drizzled with BBQ sauce. Don't overlook the Bruschetta ($5.99), with homestyle garlic herbs, mozzarella and tomatoes, as an excellent starter.

We went on a Wednesday which is Fiesta Night, and has a Mexican flare. My daughter saw Nachos ($8.49) on the menu and her mind was made up. There was only one problem: she just likes melted shredded cheese on her chips, along with the seasoned beef. 

Our waitress said with a smile on her face, "We can do that for you." I was impressed; usually in some places it's "Let me ask the manager" or "That will be an extra charge" or just plain "No." Not at the Stonehouse Grill. I've always felt that "Yes is the answer, what's the question?" is a philosophy that more restaurants should use as a policy. By the way, the usual nachos preparation with seasoned ground beef, nacho cheese sauce, tomatoes, jalapenos and olives was very tasty. 

The Mexican Pizza ($10.49) sounded too good to ignore. A wonderful crisp pizza crust topped with sour cream and salsa, then seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, shredded Monterrey/cheddar cheeses, and topped with shredded lettuce combined for an absolutely wonderful blend of flavors We couldn't eat it all but we were happy to take it home. Their other "award-winning pizzas" ($8.49 - $18.69) should be given some serious consideration as well.

You could spend a whole day just trying to decide which of the subs, pitas, or sandwiches you would like to try. Here's a couple to mull over.

The BLT Sub ($8.99) has enough bacon on it to satisfy anyone. They put a lot of provolone on it, yummy! 

Then there was a weekly special, Shrimp & Lobster Flatbread Pita ($10.29). Shrimp and langostinos sauteed in a garlic herb sauce with spinach, mozzarella cheese with a touch of Alfredo sauce. I don't think I could come up with an adjective that could properly describe how delicious this meal was. This should become one of their core menu items, not just a special!

As far as the dinner entrees, the Cajun Chicken Fettuccine ($13.99) caught my eye. Grilled chicken and bacon sauteed in a creamy Cajun Alfredo sauce that has just enough heat to give it some character; for an extra $2.50, you can do shrimp instead. 

There's nothing like a good old-fashioned Petite Fillet ($16.99) to satisfy the carnivore in you. First it was seasoned in their House Rub, then grilled to perfection. Don't sell yourself short by not adding the Gorgonzola Peppercorn Sauce ($1.00), a great accompaniment.

We really didn't save any room for dessert but by the selections I'm sure we wouldn't have been disappointed.

I can't say enough good about the service. The young and energetic house staff totally impressed me with their warm, friendly and knowledgeable service. Tables were quickly cleared and cleaned, floors constantly being swept and windows wiped clear of any smudges. A clean establishment shows the pride the owners have instilled in their staff that leaves "no Stone unturned." 

Stonehouse Grill

Where: 24850 Center Ridge Rd., Westlake                                                                                                                     

Online: stonehousegrill.com

Call: 440-871-4745

Hours: 11 a.m.-10p.m. Monday-Thursday

            11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday

            12 p.m.-9p.m. Sunday

Prices:Appetizers, $5.99-$8.69

            Salads, $3.99-$12.99

            Sandwiches, Subs, Pitas, Burgers & Wraps, $6.99-$11.99

            Entrees, $10.99-$17.99

            Pizzas, $8.49-$18.69

Reservations: No

Credit cards: All major

Cuisine: American

Kids menu: Yes

Bar service: Full bar

Accessibility: Excellent

Grade: Four Stars

Ratings: 1 star fair

             2 stars good

             3 stars very good

             4 stars excellent

             0 stars not recommended

The Observer makes two anonymous visits per restaurant and does not except complimentary meals.

Steve Novak

Steve Novak lives in Westlake.

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Volume 3, Issue 11, Posted 3:13 PM, 06.01.2011