Stonegrill – Toronto, ON


Stonegrill
51 Winchester St
Toronto, ON
(416) 967-6565

Anyone familiar with Korean gogi gui or Japanese yakiniku, has experienced being served a platter of raw meat and given full control to cook at their own table. Stonegrill, takes this in a slightly different direction by replacing the sliced meat with a thick steak, and the table mounted grill with a pre-heated slab of stone.

Pictured here is the 10 oz. Certified Angus striploin, cooking atop the stone block.  Our waiter explained that “the stone is a volcanic rock imported from Iceland, heated to 750 degrees – which sears in the natural juices and is the healthiest way to cook a steak as it requires no additional oil”.

stonegrill_steak

I didn’t want to get into any major discussions about this at the table (as we were visiting some old friends) – but can someone explain to me how this could be any “healthier” than cooking my steak on a bbq? The myth of searing meat to contain natural juices is a topic I won’t dive into on this post.  Nonetheless, I was a little disappointed that they use this to promote their restaurant concept.

My biggest complaint however, would be how the ‘chef’ (for lack of a better word) seasoned the steak by carelessly dumping a heavy pinch of salt on the middle of each steak.

stonegrill_tenderloin

Regardless of the stone spiel, these were quality cuts of beef, which tasted very good.  The first flip revealed a beautifully seared side of steak (Louis-Camille Maillard would be proud).  The stone held enough heat throughout the meal – as I found myself using it to further cook a few of the center pieces bite-by-bite.

Midway through the meal, I had a bite which contained some bitter notes.  When I peeked at the other side of the steak – I found that it was not very pretty (a couple burnt spots, with the rest looking grey as it didn’t make contact with the stone).

The ‘seasonal vegetables’ were very disappointing.  The pairing of the tiny broccoli with large cauliflower florete, and the sliver of red pepper with the large chunk of green pepper – made me wonder if they don’t bother hiring a chef – as the customer does the cooking?  We joked about whether you can call it cooking – when you’re cooking stones?

stonegrill_breadpudding

Moving onto dessert – we jointly decided to share the bread pudding.  A massive portion, which we couldn’t finish, although it tasted fine.  Part of this could have been due to the timing of our dessert arrival – as a nearby table received their order of salmon, which filled the restaurant with the strong smell of cooking fish.  Not the most enjoyable experience.

Overall – an interesting concept, but I’d rather stick to the bbq houses with exhaust vents over each table.

Stonegrill on Urbanspoon

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6 thoughts on “Stonegrill – Toronto, ON

    • lol – OK, you’re right.

      I didn’t want to be too harsh – as I do want to give them credit for serving a decent cut and quality of beef.
      The veg and ventilation was SO bad, that I didn’t seem to focus on the stone gimmick at all.

      Thanks for the AB link! There is also a great video with Heston Blumenthal on the beef episode of “Kitchen Chemistry”.

  1. Can’t think of a worse thing than digging into a certain dish, but the overpowering scent of something completely different is filling the room. 😦

    For this method of cooking meat, I’d much rather have it in smaller slices (aka yakiniku style), as the whole slab of steak just wouldn’t seem to me, to get an even level of cooking throughout, and on the surface as you described…

  2. A gimmick indeed. Having never cooked a slab of meat at the table, I can’t help but think it’s more enjoyable and tastier cooking thin slices of beef.

  3. Interesting how most of you are commenting when it seems that you have not been there. I, on the other hand, go there regularly, as I am a resident of Cabbagetown, and I can tell you that whether searing is a myth or not, the Stonegrill dinner is the most satisfying, exquisite and amazing one I have had the privilege of having repeatedly in my many years of eating out of many years.

    Your steak cooks right in front of you, to your exact liking, not too much, not too little, each bite piping hot and totally savoury due to the cooking method. And not least of all, the atmosphere is so sophisticated, amazing martinis, beautiful waiting staff and endless classic jazz music wafting through the air.

    And as I understand, there are Stonegrill restaurants all over the world. I guess there are just so many people who do not like the experience, and keep going back to dislike it, hence the growth of the company.

    Please, visit the place and then comment, else it just sounds dumb. Cheers, Steven Howitzer

    • Thanks for your comments Steven, although I fully stand by my review and honestly find it difficult understand how you can really compare any cooked & rested piece of steak – to one that continues to cook away on your plate?

      You stated that this method allows you to cook the steak to your exact liking, but how is it possible to enjoy your steak at this state of ‘exactness’, when the steak continues to cook from your first bite – all the way till your last?

      I fully agree with many of the commenters – as I’d also much prefer cooking small slices of meat at my table (i.e. yakiniku), as to actually control how “each bite” cooks through. As for the success of a franchise – I’m sure we can agree on many successful food chains, where quality of food usually has very little to do with their success.

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