My mom is in town. She came into town to help me with research on 'Project New Flooring.' I have a headache from all the flooring information swimming around in my head... That's why I just had an Orange Martini on a Monday night (I don't usually have cocktails during the week) so I apologize if this post is too silly or makes no sense! It was a strong cocktail!
Saturday evening, SP, mom, and I went out to dinner. Traffic was a bit heavy in Robinson and we didn't feel like traveling far, so we decided to give Stone Pepper's Grill a try. They just opened up a new location in Settlers Ridge in Robinson. There also are locations in Upper St. Clair (near the Chick Fil-A, where there used to be a Red Lobster & a Chi Chi's) and in Adams Twp.
I have to admit: I was apprehensive. We went to the USC one back in February 2009 and I was not very impressed. It was crowded, the staff was very young and inexperienced, the food so-so, and well, my stomach got sick later that evening. I was not happy and we haven't been back since.
But since I refuse to eat at Saga, Cadillac Ranch, and PF Chang's and we weren't in the mood for Panera, Stone Pepper's was pretty much the remaining closest place.
We arrived a bit before 6 pm. We were seated right away in the bar area. My first observation: this Stone Pepper's is huge compared to the USC one. Also: gee, it's not very crowded. Those thoughts were followed by thoughts like: gee this is a pretty big bar & there's lots of TVs showing Pitt losing to Notre Dame (boo!), hey this is a pretty typical bar decor, kind of boring but it's clean and shiny new.
We ordered drinks: iced tea for me & SP and a Merlot for mom. The iced tea was fresh brewed and mom's Merlot was pretty good for a house Merlot.
We decided to start with an appetizer of Lettuce Wraps: "Our delicious homemade mix of diced fresh chicken, water chestnuts, green onions, almonds and celery in a soy ginger sauce. Served with crisp iceberg lettuce." A close up photo of the lettuce stuffing:And a photo of the stuffing on the lettuce leaf, ready to be rolled:I was thinking, great, this is like a taco or burrito and I stink at making structurally sound tacos/burritos and sure enough, my lettuce leaf was a disaster of filling oozing out and the lettuce leaf not staying wrapped. My personal wrapped food deficiencies aside, this was pretty tasty, especially considering that I'm not usually a fan of chestnuts, onions, and iceberg lettuce nor do I usually like nuts in my meats. SP, who enjoys these kinds of dishes more than me, says it was a little sweeter than he would have liked but not bad and he'd order it again.
SP loves soup and he ordered a cup of Spicy Baja Chicken Soup: "A spicy south-of-the-border blend of diced grilled chicken, corn, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and other spices."I took a photo and then decided it didn't really show the soup, so I used the soup spoon to scoop up the soup ingredients:It looked like a lot of goodies in the soup. SP says the soup was little spicier than he expected, but he likes spicy so that was OK, and it was a tasty soup.
He also ordered a House Salad: "Tomatoes, celery, garbanzo beans and black olives on crisp greens with choice of dressing." He chose the Southwest Ranch dressing.The salad looked tasty and had lots of goodies. He said it was average, a bit more iceberg than he would have liked, but he enjoyed the beans and celery and the dressing was tasty.
My mom decided to try the Chicken & Gouda Sandwich: "Tender grilled chicken breast covered with fresh shaved smoked gouda and sautéed mushrooms. Served on a toasted roll with our whole grain honey mustard sauce, lettuce, tomato and pickle."It was an enormous sandwich and came with fries. She said it was quite tasty, but it was so large that she ended up eating the inside of the sandwich and leaving her bun on the plate. The crispy fries were tasty and crispy and seemed like they had some kind of coating, like a very light breading.
For his meal, SP ordered Mediterranean Tilapia: "Tender tilapia sautéed with Kalamata olives, tomatoes, capers, garlic, onion and parsley."He said the fish was the usual for tilapia: pretty mild, almost bland, it wasn't over or under cooked and the topping was very tasty - salty & briny (with the capers and olives) and since he loves salty/briny olives & capers, this was a hit for him.
I decided to try a pizza: The 'Full House': "Go “all in” for this! Our famous brick oven pizza topped with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, onion, mozzarella and provolone cheeses with our pizza sauce." I got it with no onions.The pizza was much tastier than I remembered. It had a thinner crust, but not too thin, the crust was tasty and it seemed to be strong enough to support all the toppings. I love sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, and olives on pizza, plus this one had pepperoni. The sauce wasn't as spicy/tangy as I remember, so that was very good.
We were too full for dessert.
Our server was a friendly young woman. She didn't just dart in & out but chatted a bit with us, mentioning to SP that she's been wanting to try the tilapia dish. She also kept our drinks filled, the plates cleared, gave us extra napkins without us asking (remember, I can be a messy eater so this is a very good thing!), made sure our food tasted OK. She definitely kept up with SP's iced tea guzzling.
At one point, the manager stopped by to check on us. We chatted with him a bit. It turns out they've been open for 2 months but haven't done a lot of promotion yet. They've been opening slowly, trying to get all the kinks worked out before being (hopefully) mobbed with diners (like their neighbors Cadillac Ranch & Red Robin). This seems like a good approach, although with such a large dining area and few diners on a Saturday evening, I worry that they can sustain themselves. Hopefully, word will get out there and they'll get more diners. They are certainly, to me, a welcome addition to the Robinson area because while they are a chain, they are a smallish local chain (like Atria's) and they are very near our house, so we have a decent place close by with no traffic issues.
Tuesdays are 35 cent wing nights from 7 pm - 10 pm. There's daily beer specials and happy hours Mondays-Friday 5 pm - 7 pm. They're worth a try.