Thursday, June 14, 2007

Shocker: Stonegrill & Bar not very good!

So, last weekend Chris and I decided to go to the new Stonegrill & Bar (2110 L Street, Sacramento) on a lark. I say it was a lark because I had berated its impending opening by reflecting on my hatred of Mongolian BBQ and similar cook-your-own-food concept restaurants with remarks like "why should I pay to go to a restaurant if I have to cook my own food?" And then Chris said we should go to it because he thinks it won't be open very long.

After eating there, I gotta say that I think he's right. Either the place will close or it will be re-thought and relaunched. But let me explain why:

Most of the restaurant's problems are evident even from the exterior. It's located in a new building, and looks fairly fancy and upscale, but then there's a really cheap looking, extraordinarily poorly designed sign on the outside advertising their happy hour. It makes the place look super lame.

Once inside, we were greeted by a young man in a suit who seemed pretty together, but also desperate for us to like the restaurant. The rest of the staff looked like they had been picked up in a big net at Arden Fair Mall. The hostess was spacy and clueless, as was our waiter. He looked about 16 years old and said "pretty much" several times in each sentence. So we found out that "pretty much the meat is cooked on a stone that is pretty much 750 degrees and that you pretty much cook it yourself to pretty much the doneness that you want."

We tried to order wine. The wine list sucks, and our waiter knew nothing about wine. Chris' first glass of Seven Deadly Zins tasted weird, so he sent it back for the Kendall Jackson Merlot. Like I said, the wine list sucks. We started with the hummus appetizer, which tasted good at first but quickly proved to be too salty, over-spiced and dry.

I ordered the Kobe Bistro Filet (which isn't actually Kobe beef) and Chris had the Mixed Grill. Chris didn't like his meat because it was too small and cooked very quickly on the stone. My meat was actually pretty good, and I liked slicing off the little pieces and cooking them to pretty much the doneness that I wanted.

On the side, I had mashed potatoes, which were good but nothing special, and mixed veggies, which I think came from a Green Giant bag of frozen veggies. They were cooked, but had cooled off too much by the time they arrived at my table. On reflection, I think maybe I should have put them on the grill with the meat to heat them up.

So yeah, it wasn't very good.

(Interestingly, the restaurant's tendency towards looking fancy while being poorly executed also extends to their Web site, which loads slowly, is confusing, and uses ASP.)

Afterwards, we went to the Cold Stone Creamery out on Fair Oaks, just to make it a hot stone/cold stone kind of a night.

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Taco Loco = Yucko

Every six months or so, I seem to forget how much Taco Loco (2326 J St, Sacramento) sucks.

It's right down the street from my office, and in this part of town there is a relative lack of good lunch options. The inexpensive, quick choices are Beach Hut Deli (aka Beach Slut Deli, where the workers are hot and the sandwiches are just okay), Blimpie (reliable and not a bad as you would think), The Grind on J (salads good, sandwiches not, workers infuriatingly incompetent), The Cornerstone (ew) and Taco Loco.

So, occasionally my lunch boredom and love of Mexican food converge to make me try Taco Loco just one more time. But it sucks! I had it for lunch today and now I feel pretty damn sick. I went there thinking, "maybe if I don't get meat, it will be good" but I got lured in by the carnitas. They turned out to be pretty dull, as did the rest of my spinach salad. But, that would be OK, except that now I feel sick. So there ya go.

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