LOCAL FLAVOUR: Stone House Retaurant

Warm atmosphere and Mediterranean dishes are sure to make Stone House a new favourite.

Stone House Restaurant is the new sister to Vineland's landmark Lake House Restaurant. Opened in January 2010, the same exquisite European Mediterranean cuisine has been transplanted to Burlington with unique twists including a tapas menu and one-of-a-kind décor.

Owners and Oakville residents Joseph and Hanne Nahman had been looking in the area for several years for the perfect property to showcase their Burlington raised Executive Chef Mitchell Lamb. A red seal chef, trained at Niagara Culinary Institute, Lamb honed his skills at several Niagara-on-the-Lake restaurants before settling in at Lake House. The plan was to have a second Lake House Restaurant, but as the Stone House location doesn't have a view of the shore, they improvised.

“We added the stonework all over the exterior and interior,” says Hanne Nahman. “It is similar to the Lake House, in that it has a comfortable, cozy kind of a feel.”

Their vision for both restaurants came as a result of their years of international experience. Hanne started in the restaurant business as a dishwasher and Joseph as a busser at 13, before attending the hotel school Ecole Hoteliere in Oostund, in Belgium where he grew up. He has trained in every capacity within the restaurant business all over the world including posts in Paris, New York, Sydney, Honolulu and Bermuda.

The Nahmans designed Stone House themselves. An elegant waterfall graces the entrance of the roughly 7,000 square-foot restaurant that seats 197 and has a 36-seat patio. Stone House is divided into several distinctive dining areas. One cozy space dubbed the Orient Express is fashioned as a railway carriage. Private compartments contain booth seating and vintage art purchased from New York adorns the walls. Each nook has a light switch that when pushed, a little red light comes on alerting the server's attention. For larger parties requiring privacy, a private function room can accommodate up to 40 people.

The extensive menu is comprised of a stellar selection of seasonal, fresh ingredients borrowed from the menu the Lake House has been perfecting since 2002.

“We really believe that consistency is important. All these dishes are ones that have proven over the years to be winners and that customers have asked for over and over and they come back specifically for,” she adds. “We pride ourselves on our food. That's what it's all about.”

Nightly dinner specials include the popular Osso Buco Arrabiata (veal shank slowly braised in a spicy tomato sauce and dished up with fettuccine noodles) every Tuesday and Slow Roasted Prime Rib (Certified Angus Beef served with a thyme and rosemary savoury bread pudding and mashed potatoes) on Saturdays and Sundays. Lunch specials of gourmet wraps prepared with sweet potato fries and baby greens or half pizzas presented with greens are ever-changing and offered daily.

They also offer The Taste of Stone House menu, a prix-fixe three-course lunch and dinner option of beloved dishes for $35. Choose from appetizers such as Hanne Nahman's favourite, Baked Brie wrapped in filo pastry with roasted garlic and cranberry arranged on a bed of warm grilled vegetables and garnished with a sweet red pepper sauce and balsamic drizzle. Entrées include Grilled New York Strip Loin and Oven Baked Chicken Supreme. For dessert there is a choice from an assortment of luxurious homemade mini desserts presented on a wooden serving stick.

The tapas menu offered from 4 p.m. onwards offers lighter fare and has proven to be a success with addictive items such as Grilled Calamari with puttanesca sauce (Joseph Nahman eats it daily) and blackened Ahi Tuna served rare with pickled ginger and wasabi cream cheese. This tradition of providing tapas or small snacks with drinks is a conventional way of eating a meal in Spain.

“The restaurant has a very European touch. We tried to create an atmosphere and ambiance so that when guests come here for lunch or dinner it's a little escape,” says Joseph Nahman. “They get the whole experience: quality food, really good pricing, great service and generous portions. Here at Stone House, we are all about the customers. We like them to be pampered.”

3106 South Service Road, Burlington; 905.632.1316

See it Live!

Stone House Restaurant will be serving up tastes from their menu at West of the City's annual spring Girls Night Out on Wednesday, May 19. Tickets are $10 plus a non-perishable food donation. Tickets are available at Formula Media Group/West of the City. Call 905.845.8536 for more information.