Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
No, this post is not about a trip to Vermont, in the middle of nowhere: it is about The Stone House at Clove Lakes, in the heart of Staten Island. Looking at the photos, it is difficult to believe that, less than 30 minutes from Manhattan lies a little paradise that would make you forget the speedy life of the city.
This place is impressive: first the outside, with a romantic view of the lake making it the perfect place for a special occasion. The Stone House is surrounded by water, being on an island, with for sole access a stone bridge. In fact, it used to be a boat house that has the same style as the boat house of Tavern On The Green in Central Park, less the tourists...
Looking at it you definitely see a place where a wedding would be celebrated, one of the gazebo being perfect for a ceremony. And it is huge, with multiple rooms to accommodate more than 300 people. The inside is magnificent, spacious, rustic, with a certain warmth that is not just coming from the fireplace that was welcomed last week, on Monday. It is very spacious, with very high ceilings that are fairly impressive and beautiful with the exposed wooden beams.
Adjacent to the main dining room is another dining room with incredible views of the lake, as well as a patio, completely open when the weather permits, giving an even more extraordinary dimension to The Stone House.
Menu wise, they offer a wide range of dishes, mainly focused on American classics, but not only, and on the fine dining side. Know that the menu is seasonal and so changes on a regular basis.
I went there with my friend Benny and we decided to share some dishes. The first one we tried was the lamb meatballs, served with an herb yogurt and a tomato jam: this had definitely some Mediterranean flavors. I love lamb so I was really glad to get this dish that was delicious, although the texture of the meatballs was a bit inconsistent, some denser than others that were a bit mushy.
Then came the beet and goat cheese salad, made with macadamia crusted goat cheese medallions, roasted beets, arugula, drizzled with a pomegranate vinaigrette. I liked it, the beets pairing perfectly with the goat cheese. But the most surprising part of the dish was that macadamia crust that gave a nice nuttiness to it.
After that was the lobster bisque, prepared with aged sherry wine and with two crispy lobster dumplings floating in it. I loved it and could not stop eating it: it was very creamy and I loved the crispy dumplings that were a nice addition to a classic dish.
In fact, the bisque was so good that I was glad I could retrieve the same flavors in the next dish, a seafood medley that was definitely a high point in my lunch. The lobster sauce that is simply the bisque with some added sherry wine, smothers clams, shrimp, mussels, a lobster tail and some black rice (forbidden rice) that was perfectly cooked al dente. This was sublime and I did not miss any bite: the seafood was well cooked and I truly appreciated the fact that the lobster was de-shelled so it was not difficult to eat. And that sauce...I am currently drooling just thinking about it!
Another spectacular dish was the lamb shank cooked in a red wine sauce with vegetables and served over mash potatoes. I did not even need a knife for the meat that was literally falling off the bone.
Last was dessert. Smartly, they offer a dessert sampler (I wish all restaurants would do that). It was composed of: a cookie butter mousse parfait (the specialty of the house), similar to speculoos, a warm chocolate cake and an amaretto and fig cheesecake. My favorite was the cookie butter mousse that was light and delicious, not too sweet, with nice cookie crumbles on top and in the bottom: it was a nice change to the traditional chocolate mousse. The cheesecake was also good, dense and I liked the hints of fig on the sauce on top. However, I did not like the chocolate cake.
We ended up with interesting capuccino: Nutella for me and cookie butter for my friend Benny:
I should mention that, with my meal, I got a warm sangria, a special of the house that they prepare table side, bringing a cart with glasses that are heated by a tea candle. They then put in the glass a cinnamon stick and some Grand Marnier, lit it on fire to evaporate the alcohol, and then add their sangria mix that has so many ingredients that I could not remember...Et voila:
First you have to let the glass rest a bit, the tip being hot from the flambée that is probably more spectacular at night. Then, as you start drinking, your nose is invaded by all sorts of scents and some warmth coming from the alcohol being heated. And then, the first sip is divine: the flavors are incredible and it does not taste too much of alcohol, making this drink a bit dangerous...It was delicious warm and exquisite cold. A must have! And know that they also served a warm spiced tea, also with cinnamon and Grand Marnier: probably as spectacular.
I have to say that I had a fantastic time at The Stone House at Clove Lakes in Staten Island. Discovering such place so close to Manhattan was so surprising. And the food was phenomenal. I would certainly go back and definitely recommend it!
Enjoy (I did)!
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