My husband and I first visited the Stone Cellar earlier this spring for lunch on the recommendation of some co-workers. We had a lovely salad of mixed greens with a light, citrus-y dressing and a vegetarian quiche featuring crisp and delicious roasted asparagus, with sweet potato fries on the side. The quiche was creamy and fragrant, delicately seasoned – but not overpowered – with herbs. The sweet potato fries were fresh and melted in our mouths. Our server recommended a Santa Margherita pinot grigio, which has since become a favourite.
The Stone Cellar has stone walls, a central fireplace, not many tables and a glassed-in wine cellar. Unlike cramped Ottawa restaurants, there is enough space between tables to enjoy your own conversation without being forced to endure those of others seated too closely. The restaurant has tables at the window on the street - a bit chilly in winter and warm in summer. The stone and dark decor is enlivened by red accents throughout. The bathroom is on the same floor, making it more accessible.
Having had one of the best lunches ever, we finally got around to making dinner reservations for our wedding anniversary, about 5 months later. We ordered an appetizer of baked Brie with rhubarb compote, served with croustades (dried mini-baguette slices). The rhubarb compote was sweeter rather than tart, but good.
My husband ordered the pork medallions, and was expecting something lightly floured or breaded and browned, with a maple syrup glaze. The medallions were actually a sliced pork tenderloin with a light maple glaze; they were cooked properly and tasted delicious. I had the Gulf Coast chicken, with a peach and cranberry salsa. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the glaze and salsa were fresh and light.
Our vegetables, carrots and asparagus, were unadorned and slightly over-cooked, but seemed to be seasonal and tasted fresh. Both dishes were served with the dark, short-grained, nut-flavoured “forbidden rice” which was new to us and very good. Our server was knowledgeable about the origin and cultural history of the rice.
For dessert, my husband had the pecan pie, sweet and crunchy with a toasty dark crust and fresh, whipped cream on the side, and I had the crème brûlée Grand Marnier: an amber satiny-cream base topped by a fragile window-pane of hair-thin, clear caramel. The orange flavour of the Grand Marnier was a delicate whisper throughout.
We have recommended the Stone Cellar to others and will return.
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