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May 8, 2008 06:21 AM

First Visit to Stone Park — Not the Last

Three of us had dinner last evening at Stone Park, a first visit for us all. I don't know what took us three Brooklynites so long, especially me, a Park Slope resident for the past 20 years, but we were all very glad we finally got there. From the attentive and professional service to the amazingly good food and the attractive room, we really enjoyed ourselves.

Two of us arrived shortly after 6:00 PM and they told us to pick out whatever table we liked, so we took a four-top in the rear. Our third party was about half an hour late, no problem at all. When she arrived, we all had a drink before we ordered.

We were primed to try various things on the menu, having done some reading about the place and their offerings, so we started with four appetizers: the asparagus risotto, the octopus salad, the frito misto (a special), and the short rib mini-burger. It was impossible to pick a favorite, given the variety of tastes and textures, but I'd probably go with the octopus salad, with the risotto a very close second. We all agreed that we'd order any of the four again, they were that good.

For main courses one of my friend had the grilled pork chop, the other had the roast chicken and I had the scallops. Again, we were thrilled with the quality of each dish. The one misstep was that our waiter somehow did not give the kitchen our side orders, so we ended up skipping them. Turned out we didn't need them anyway, as each main course came with its own small side. Mine, for example, was a squid ink tagliatelle with a smattering of sausage meat from Esposito's sausage store in Brooklyn. The pork chop came with tagliatelle in sauce (don't remember what sauce). All this was accompanied by a terrific Chassagne Montrachet white Burgundy,

Next came the cheese assortment, four very good selections (the only one I can remember right now is the Manchego), followed by dessert. Really liked the ice cream and the peanut butter parfait, the other desserts were so-so. I had been thinking about the Brooklyn root beer float, but they were out of root beer (?), so that will have to wait until next time.

The tab, including tax and a generous tip, for this feast came to a little over $400.

We had all been expecting a good meal based on what we had read and heard about Stone Park, and I'd say the whole thing exceeded our expectations. And that's saying a lot.

I'll definitely be back...

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  1. We went there for brunch yesterday. The food was even a bit better than when we were there before. I had the hangtown fry, and the oysters were perfectly fried, though the egg pancake was a bit overdone and I could have done without the dull home fries. My wife's bluefish cakes were excellent.

    The weather was perfect for the outside tables, which improved things a lot, since I the inside tables are too close together for my comfort. Service was polite and well done but slow, as it's been before. They really need to add another waiter/tress.

    By Manhattan standards, the prices are reasonable, but for Brooklyn they're high.

    6 Replies
    1. re: KRS

      I've tried Stone Park 3 times, always wanting to be wow-ed, but I simply never am. Its just one of those things where I leave the meal vaguely unsatisfied.

      1. re: elecsheep9

        I've been reading about Stone Park on CH since it first opened, and while there have been a lot of negative comments (especially about reservations or the lack thereof in the early days), there seem to have been more positive ones. So I was really curious to see how it would turn out on my first visit, described above, and as you can see, it was great.

        Perhaps it was that it wasn't really busy and the waiter had time to schmooze, or that everything fell together to make it a thoroughly enjoyable experience, but it really was a terrific intro to the place. Of all the positive elements of that meal, what stands out in my memory the most was how really good the food was. We each ordered our own appetizers and entrees and we all tasted everything. There wasn't a loser on the table.

        I know that it could all be different on the next visit, so that's why my wife and I are going tonight. I'll let you know...

        1. re: elecsheep9

          My wife and I had dinner at SP a couple of nights ago, her first visit, but my second in a week.

          Some of the sparkle of the first visit wasn't there for my second go-round, but it was still very much on the positive side. Instead of a 9.5, I'd give it something like an 8 on this visit. There were some small things that made it a somewhat less enchanting visit, such as the fact that we sat upstairs, not far from the front door, whereas on my first visit we sat downstairs, nearer the kitchen. That meant we caught the chilly breeze every time the door opened, and it also meant that parties of four or more (and there were several) would congregate right next to our table until the host seated them. It was also a lot noisier, don't know why...

          The food didn't seem quite as compelling either, and, again, I'm not sure why. The signature short rib sandwich appetizer was still excellent, but it didn't quite achieve the same wow factor as my first visit. My octopus salad was still very fresh and tasty, but the chunks of octopus were larger and not quite as attractive,

          Maureen had the risotto appetizer for her main course while I again went with the seared scallops. Same thing — they were both tasty and good by any definition, but they just didn't reach quite the same heights as my previous visit.

          But we did have Pinot Gris that we thought was great, and the price was very reasonable, maybe $42 or so the bottle.

          Maureen enjoyed her meal, thought it was good and would definitely go back, but she was not wowed the way I was at my first visit.

          It occurred to me that they may have different chefs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and if that's the case, Wednesday is the night to go. But if you do go on a Tuesday evening, you'll still have one fine time.

          1. re: BrookBoy

            You felt that $42 for a bottle of white wine was very reasonable? Sorry to nitpick but that jumped out at me. Was it an extraordinary wine? What was the total cost of your meal?

            1. re: jen kalb

              My wife and I went to Stone Park last night and I have to say I was a little disappointed. First of all, the service was extremely slow - our entire meal took over two hours despite the fact that we ordered very quickly and didn't have dessert (although it took over 20 minutes to get someone's attention to tell them we didn't want dessert). The waitress was very nice and professional, the issue was that she seemed to be the ONLY waitress for the entire restaurant. My wife had the arugula salad with beans and red onions (very similar, but not nearly as good as what we had at Little D a few nights ago). It was good but not great. I had the spring leek salad with truffled poached egg and mixed wild mushrooms. The egg was perfectly cooked and the mushrooms were great but the leeks were tough and stringy. They seemed very much like plain old leeks, nothing "spring" about them. Also, the salad was supposed to have parmesan but I couldn't taste any. I had the roast chicken as a main course which was very tasty, probably the best dish of the evening. My wife had the hangar steak which was incredibly salty (the sauce was almost inedible). We would've returned it except by the time we got our entrees it was so late that we just didn't have time to return the food. FYI, the tab, with three glasses of decent rose was around $110, pretty high given the experience we had. This was our third meal at Stone Park (one brunch and two dinners), they're batting .333, which is great for baseball but not so hot for a restaurant. I'm sticking with Little D.

              1. re: jen kalb

                Well, maybe I'm used to Manhattan prices, but it seems to me that restaurant wine prices have crept (or maybe "shot" is a better word) upward in recent years. I'm finding that it's not easy to get a decent wine in a restaurant for much under $50 anymore. And the number of wines that are accompanied by 3-digit prices is growing all the time.

                If extraordinary means better than ordinary, then I would describe the wine as extraordinary. If at retail the wine were $15 or $20 we would certainly buy it for home consumption. And if that were the wine price at retail, then the restaurant price was no bargain but it wasn't a ripoff either.

                I don't remember the exact price, but I think total was around $125, including tax and tip.