Sunday, July 28, 2013

Stonefire Grill

Is there any point in writing about restaurants I wouldn't recommend?  I wouldn't recommend Stonefire Grill.

My husband and I were looking for somewhere to eat lunch today.  Ideally, we wanted to eat somewhere we hadn't eaten before, and my husband thought ribs sounded good.  We looked online and saw the great reviews for Stonefire Grill.  We headed over to the one in Chatsworth, CA.  From the outside it looked okay, average.  I was expecting it to be something along the lines of Woodranch but with pizza as well.

When we walked inside, I was skeptical.  After a few minutes, I realized that we were supposed to order at the counter and then seat ourselves.  Not that there's anything wrong with that; that's the way it works at Porto's and I LOVE Porto's.  That's just not what I was expecting.  My husband and I got out of line and looked over a menu.

They have a variety of salads, pizzas, BBQ options and a variety of sizes.  In the end, I decided to order the Grilled Vegetable Salad and add Tri Tip.  My husband considered the Steak and Cheese sandwich, but I reminded him that he said he was hungry for ribs.  He looked over the menu again and decided to try the 1/4 chicken and 1/4 rack of ribs combo which came with 2 breadsticks and his choice of salad or side.  In the end, he went with a garden salad.  The guy who took our order was friendly enough.  We took plastic cups for water and what looked like a buzzer.

The drinks are set up kind of like you'd find at a fast food restaurant.  There was also a pump for BBQ sauce, kind of the way you get ketchup at a fast food restaurant.  There were plates, silverware, and napkins kind of like you'd find at a buffet or cafeteria, but this wasn't a cafeteria, and there wasn't a buffet.

We filled our plastic cups with water and looked for a table.  There were booths inside, but we went out to the patio and chose a table near what looked like a firepit.  There was a cool looking outdoor clock nearby, but we noticed that it wasn't working.  The atmosphere would've been nicer if there had been some music playing and if the view wasn't just the entrance to a shopping center.  Basically, there wasn't any atmosphere.

The buzzer looking thing must've actually been a GPS tracking device so they'd know where we were sitting.  A waitress brought out my salad, my husband's salad and his breadsticks.  She said the rest of the food would be right out.  We started in on our salads.

I was surprised how small my salad was for the price.  I expected something bigger.  The tri-tip on my salad had a nice smoky flavor, but there wasn't a lot of it, and I expected it to have BBQ sauce on it even though the salad had balsamic vinaigrette on it.  It didn't.  My husband got some BBQ sauce from the pump, but he said it was syrupy sweet.  I don't like sweet BBQ sauce, so I didn't use it.  Some of the grilled veggies were undercooked (like the mushrooms) and some were overcooked (like the eggplant, which was practically mush).  The whole salad was underseasoned.  I hate when I go to restaurants and think how much better whatever I'm eating would taste if I had made it myself at home.  I was really hungry, so I ate it all anyway; however, next time I'm in the mood for a grilled veggie salad and don't feel like making it myself, I'm going to Mo's in Burbank.

I didn't try the breadsticks, but my husband said the ones at Little Caesar's are better.  He said the greasy butter and seasoning on these breadsticks helped but that the bread itself wasn't very good.

I just asked my husband how his side salad was, and he said, "Not very good.  It seemed a little wilted."

We were impressed at the portion size of the 1/4 chicken and 1/4 ribs, but of course, a lot of that was bones.  My husband liked the chicken okay.  I took a bite, and it was juicy but pretty bland.  He didn't particularly like the BBQ sauce, but he dipped the chicken in that anyway just to add flavor.  The ribs were on the dry side, but eating the meat off the bone helped satisfy his craving.

I noticed large families at other tables eating their food family style.  The restaurant offers large portions of food so that you can share.  Maybe that's a nice way for families to save money instead of ordering individual meals, but in the end, the food isn't very good.  It's just okay.  We won't be back.

We didn't try the pizza, so maybe that's good, but a safe bet for pizza is The Rack in Woodland Hills.  If you want good BBQ, I'd recommend Woodranch or Rosie's, both in Northridge, although it might be better to go to Woodranch at a different location.  I always feel disappointed when eating at the Northridge location.  If you want a good veggie salad, as I mentioned before, go to Mo's in Burbank, or the Cheesecake Factory has awesome salads.

Hopefully we find some great new restaurants soon.  This was a hit and a miss.

Happy eating!

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