When Julie asked me write a blog while she’s gone this week, I knew exactly what I’d write about. A few weeks ago, I had a meeting with one of my Cincy Chic clients, Stone Creek Dining Co. They told me they just made the biggest change to their menu in history with 21 additions/changes. They started talking about their new cranberry braised chicken, fish tacos, chipotle BBQ duck confit and pan roasted halibut…. And I’ve been dreaming about all of it all ever since.
So, given this opportunity to write about food in Julie’s absence, I gave Stone Creek a call to do a little taste test of their menu items and wines for the blog.
They started me off with their new award-winning ponzu glazed pork appetizer. It won first prize at the Junior Achievement awards (against 25 other local restaurants) earlier this year, and they were pretty proud of it. The pork is actually over a sweet chili mango-cucumber slaw, atop a crispy wonton chip. They paired this with a velvety Tarima Monastrell Jumill wine from Spain. They started with a bang, because this was probably my favorite dish of the night. It was the perfect blend of taste and texture. It was a good portion of food too, so you could probably make a meal out of it if you wanted to.
The next dish was blackened mahi mahi. This isn’t one of their new items, but it is one of their most popular items (it’s the third most popular, with the #1 best seller being their 6oz fillet, and #2 best seller being their applewood salad…my personal favorite whenever I come for lunch). This layered dish of yumminess starts with a bed of cajun dirty rice, black bean cucumber salsa, cilantro aioli and is topped with chunky guacamole. They paired it with a nice and light Crios Torrontes Salta wine from Argentina. I love fish, spice and guac, so this dish had me swooning. If you don’t like spice though, you probably won’t like the kick this has. But if you’re a spice fanatic like me, you’ll love it.
The third dish I tried was their durango beef medallions. The tender, juicy (mmm… my mouth is watering just writing about them and remembering them) medallions are atop garlic mashed potatoes, and they’re topped with a thick portabella mushroom cap, with tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon, spinach and gorgonzola cheese. They paired it with my favorite wine of the night: Estancia Meritage Paso Robles from California (it was a blend of a few different kinds of grapes and was incredibly smooth). This was a VERY flavorful dish. Lots of powerful tastes at work here. I loved getting the “perfect bite” on this one because they all worked together really well – a little mashed potatoes, beef, mushroom, spinach, bacon, tomato and cheese. DELISH! But if you don’t like gorgonzola, I don’t suggest this one because it’s a very prominent part of this dish (of course you can order it without it, but the cheese is what makes it in my opinion).
Last but not least, I devoured the biggest piece of carrot cake I’ve ever seen in my life. Standing about 5 inches tall, this carrot cake with decadent sweet cream cheese icing was served with candied walnuts, crispy cinnamon sugar carrot shavings and caramel drizzles. I got a dessert wine with this one: Quady Essensia Madera from California. The wine was too sweet for me, but that’s just the name of the game with dessert wines. I did really enjoy the carrot cake, and it was worth my pants being a little tighter the next day. And even though they were just supposed to be a garnish, the carrot shavings were actually really good too.
I definitely encourage you to check out Stone Creek for yourself. They have their original location on Montgomery Rd., and they opened their second location last year in West Chester (old Mesh Restaurant space). I talked with Tom Cunningham, Executive Partner of the Cunningham Restaurant Group (which operates both Stone Creek locations) and he’s excited not only about all the menu changes, but also their involvement with the new riverfront Moerlein Lager House, expected to open at year end. Cunningham says they will be the restaurant and brewery operators in partnership with Christian Moerlein Brewing Company. It will feature a walk-up window (it’ll be attached to the Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park) 850 indoor and outdoor seats. He says on busy days, they’ll be able to seat up to 1,100.
Exciting stuff! Make sure you check out all the new things Stone Creek has to offer – on their menu and our riverfront!