Stone House Restaurant

When I was younger, I had a general rule that I did not eat anything that swam. This was obviously before I realised that many things can swim, but I was of the mindset that things that spent their time living in the water were simply not to be eaten. Thankfully that has all changed now that I’m older and I have grown to love eating all kinds of seafood.

While browsing through the local paper one day I saw an ad for the surf and turf buffet at the Stone House restaurant on Sundays. Having a craving for some good lobster and other shellfish, I made a mental note to try it out. My family was looking for a place to celebrate a birthday and I eagerly suggested Stone House and promised them all you can eat lobsters, shrimps and oysters. Lucky for me, my family loves seafood more than I do.

The buffet is the only option on Sundays and runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. We arrived around 6:30 p.m. and the front parking lot was so full we had to park behind the restaurant in the back lot. Thinking it would be extremely busy, we were surprised to find that the restaurant did not seem full when we walked in and were seated immediately in a cozy booth in the back.

Stone House is divided into three separate dining rooms from what I could gather. There is a bar to the right of the entrance with tables and booths, a full dining room to the left and down a corridor, and a dining room in the middle past the buffet stations. The whole restaurant is dimly lit with dark wood trim, large and cozy booths and white (Linen! Finally!) tablecloths on each of the long tables. For the buffet, there was a cold station just inside the entrance and across from the hostess booth, and the rest of the stations were set up in the middle of the restaurant.

The wine selection is fairly extensive, but reasonably priced. My family prefers red wine (whereas I can only drink white) so I chose a bottle of Malbec from Argentina ($30). I was told I made a fantastic choice and that it was one of the most popular bottles that the restaurant carried.

I cannot go on enough about how wonderful our server was. She was attentive without being overbearing, and ensured that we always had what we needed. In fact, all of the employees at the restaurant were excellent. The servers at the stations were helpful and friendly, and were encouraging to have you try the different foods. The servers at the tables were discrete but dutiful in making sure water glasses were filled and plates were cleared in a timely manner. 

The food selection does not seem large – partly because I have been spoiled by large chain buffet restaurants, and partly because there is not a large number of different dishes. However, what the Stone House lacks in quantity, they more than make up for in quality.

Served cold, there are fresh shrimp and freshly shucked oysters with a variety of condiments, including the house cocktail sauce – a spicy, tangy horseradish-laden tomato sauce that is a perfect companion to the sweetness of the seafood. Also at the cold table are fresh steamed crab legs that are served to you by an attending employee. Rounding out the cold table is a small offering of sushi that has crab and vegetables. Not the most authentic sushi I have had, but I was happy enough to eat other things instead.

There is a small salad bar that consisted of fresh Caesar salad with separate bowls of croutons and fresh, crisp bacon. Couscous salad with raisins, and a full smoked salmon were also some of the offerings. Though the salmon was fresh, some of the salads were soggy because of the amount of time they were set out on the table.

There are two soups: lobster bisque and seafood chowder. The chowder was creamy with plenty of vegetables and seafood, but the bisque was too salty for me to enjoy. The hot seafood consisted of mussels in a wine sauce with fresh diced tomatoes, and a lobster mac and cheese that although was creamy, had been sitting out too long and had begun to dry up. There were fresh lobsters, steamed in halves, with a cup of melted butter. The lobster was sweet and meaty, and cooked perfectly. Fresh baked mustard glazed ham and a delicious melt-in-your-mouth prime rib were carved to your liking. One of my favourite dishes was the barbeque beef ribs which were fall-off-the-bone and brushed with a tangy sauce. Other dishes include various starches such as potatoes, rice and pasta, or vegetables such as braised cabbage.

The dessert table had various coffee cakes and fruit, or warm apple crisp and bread pudding. The bread pudding was unfortunately baked too long and was dry with a slight burnt taste, but the apple crisp was full of fresh cut apples and a buttery, flaky crumble. There was also a tiered tray of mini tarts and mini cupcakes which were arranged very prettily. 

For $35 a person, I would highly recommend the seafood buffet at Stone House if you are a lover of fresh seafood. As mentioned, there were not a large number of dishes but they more than made up for it by making what few dishes they had high quality deliciousness. Being a buffet, you run the risk of having dishes that have been sitting out too long, but for the more popular dishes such as the lobster or the prime rib, they are constantly being replenished and you are pretty much guaranteed a fresh portion when you are ready. With excellent service and an endless supply of fresh lobster, I will happily go here on any Sunday and eat all sorts of things that swim.

Stone House Restaurant on Restaurantica
Stone House Restaurant
3106 South Service Rd., Burlington


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