"Pour me another scotch, Smitty."
Stoney Point Bar & Grill, Pasadena
We moved into our house about five years ago, and since we live very close to Old Town Pasadena, we usually venture there for dinner. Other favorite areas include Silverlake, Los Feliz and Downtown. Eagle Rock is another good choice for some decent eating. We'd noticed this restaurant called Stoney Point right up the street from our house about a month after we arrived in the area, but paid little attention. It looked so old-school, and sat on the stretch of Colorado Blvd that was right next to the strip of the 134 freeway that turns into the 210. There was (and still is) nothing in that area.
After a couple of years of eating at practically every place in the Eastside, we were having one of those nights where we were too lazy to cook and too lazy to drive anywhere far. We were also feeling entirely too lazy (see a theme here?) to deal with the hustle and bustle of the parking structures and crowds of Old Town. "What about that Stoney place?" said my husband. The proximity of the restaurant to our house (about 1 mile) made it a clear winner for the evening. We were quite surprised to see that the inside was quite cozy, lots of dark wood and well dressed waiters. There was a piano player and quite a few patrons eating at the mahogany bar. The main thing I remember about that night was the salmon. It was like a chunk of butter- rich, beautifully cooked and oh-so-delicious. Whoda thunkit??
The other night, we were faced with a similar dilemma- where to eat, somewhere close, somewhere nice that my in-laws would like. Again, Stoney Point came to mind and five of us went. We were greeted warmly by the host who sat us at a nice round table (I love round tables so everyone can talk to everyone). The restaurant was decorated festively and the same, well-dressed waiter came and asked us what we'd like to drink. I could feel the chill coming out of my hands (I know I know - you're thinking what chill? It's friggin Los Angeles! but it was cold last night!) and the place was just so cozy and inviting.
The waiter brought our wine and a plate of bruschetta- they give everyone a plate of those instead of a bread basket. Ripe tomatoes, pungent garlic and fresh basil just exploded on the crunchy, toasted baguette slices. I started with the mixed greens- nice level of dressing topped with some tomatoes and toasted pine nut- very good. My husband had the black bean soup- also very good. More ham-hock-style bean soup rather than Latin black bean soup. Next came my swordfish special- a luciously moist swordfish steak coated in tomtaoes, basil and garlic accompanied by brocolli, potatoes and carrots. I was wary of ordering a fish that often comes out dry at many places, but man- was I glad I did. SO good. My husband's salmon was a buttery and delicious as the last time we'd tried it, and my aunt's pasta w/ chicken and red peppers was creamy, smoky and perfectly seasoned. My in-laws were more than pleased with their dishes- Cannelloni alla Fiorentina (filled with spinach and ricotta) and a Red Snapper sauteed in butter and capers topped with shrimp and scallops.
For dessert, I was so excited to see Tartufo Ice Cream on the menu- I hadn't had one of those since I was a kid at Bona Corso's (now closed). It's just a scoop of ice cream coated in hard chocolate. SO good. I was wondering whether to get the cappucino or white chocolate flavor when the waiter informed us that tonight was the only night in his 18 years of working there that they were out of the Tartufo Ice Cream. Rats! At least I know I can get it again. We settled on the hazelnut and vanilla gelatos and both were excellent.
My in-laws paid so I don't know the exact cost, but at a glance it looked like $220. That's 1 soup, 2 salads, 5 entrees and 3 desserts + 2 bottles of Acacia Pinot Noir. Not bad. The service is old-school impeccable, and the atmopshere warm and relaxing. I could do without the piano player but otherwise, I truly enjoyed myself.
This is my last blog entry of 2005, so I hope you all have a very happy New Year's!!! Here's to another great year of wonderful food, wine and blogging!!