Found out about this place on Chowhound, and since we were Niagara-on-the-Lake for just one night we decided to try it out rather than Peller, Hillebrand or the like.
It was packed when we arrived and, despite the fact that we’d made reservations a month ago, we had to wait half an hour for a table. My mood might have been soured had the host not been a bizarre combination of charming and unhinged.
Anyway, the meals. In a word: superb. I started with — and I’m quoting from the menu here — the scallops wrapped in smoked duck breast bacon, sweet onion puree, mache salad, icewine salmis vinaigrette, paired with…well, with the giant glass of Fielding Pinot Gris the host had poured me while we waited. My wife had a truffle and asparagus risotto paired with a 13th Street sparkling white. She declared it the best risotto she’d ever tasted, but admits to not having tried that many. As for me, I don’t even really like scallops and I loved this.
My main was the Charlie Baker fried chicken with buttermilk potato puree, braised leeks, sauteed greens and bubbly sauce, while the wife had the grilled flat iron steak frites with sauce béarnaise and garlicky beans. We sought out a wine that would work with both (!) and settled on a 2007 Southbrook “Whimsy” Cabernet Franc. And wow, did it work. We were still enjoying it when our strawberry & rhubarb clafouti arrived.
Perhaps the oddest part of the night was when we asked for a cab. Despite being warned by a friend about the scarcity of cabs in the city, we were hopeful...but we were to be disappointed. The nearest one was 30-40 minutes away...where were they, Buffalo?!? Anyway, much to our surprise, the semi-crazy host pulled around in a giant purple minivan and offered to drive us to our hotel. Weird, but pretty cool too. More than made up for the long wait for a table, and also made for a great laugh the next morning.
The hotel staff and winemakers we spoke with the next day all asked where we ate dinner, and all seemed envious when we told them. When the locals (especially those with good taste in wine) give you the approving nod instead of the semi-pitying smile, you know you made the right call. Highly recommended.
Stone Road Grille
238 Mary St, Niagara-ON-the-Lake, ON L0S, CA