Historic Landmark Shows Promise
Tuckahoe newcomer suffers from growing pains—but eager to please
After opening to rave reviews in the beginning of this year, The Olde Stone Mill, the Tuckahoe restaurant housed in a charming historic landmark building, seems to be on unsteady footing.
One can hope the numerous problems encountered on two visits are a temporary aberration. The setting is lovely, and the amount of effort and money that went into revitalizing the space is nearly heroic. The food and service now must catch up.
The eager and pleasant servers appeared to struggle as much on a relatively quiet weeknight as they did on a bustling weekend. But good attitude and anxious smiles made us forgive long waits for water, cutlery and other dining needs. Sadly, no smile could make up for the stale bread we had on one visit, although on the next visit the bread was perfectly fresh.
We began with lobster ceviche, a dish with all the right flavors that fell apart in the implementation. The dish was served in a martini glass—so far so good—but bore more resemblance to a pleasantly spicy citrus soup than a ceviche. The glass was filled three quarters of the way with brightly flavored, appealing citrus liquid; the pieces of lobster were sunken like a treasure at the bottom of an ocean.
The presentation of the crab cakes was also strange—they were shaped like chunky bullets pointing straight up in the air. The finely shredded crabmeat was held together with slightly wet, pasty breading. The saving grace of the dish was a pleasant cilantro sauce.
Similarly, the saffron cream sauce served with my tuna was better than the fish itself. The tuna, wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t particularly good.
The reverse was true of the fried calamari—the seafood outclassed the sauces. Tasty, tender rings with golden, crisp batter served with two sauces: the ubiquitous “red sauce” marinara and a sauce described on the menu as yogurt dill salsa that didn’t have a speck of dill in it. We liked the cool, tangy lemon-spiked yogurt and think it would have been even better with the promised dill. No matter, though—the calamari was so addictively tasty we ate every ring on the plate without any sauce at all.
We would order the sirloin burger again. The moist and juicy patty was topped with Wisconsin cheddar and applewood smoked bacon, and accompanied with tasty fries.
The same fries accompanied the decent dry-aged strip steak, which was reasonably priced at $20. We think the steak might have been even better—juicier or, perhaps, more tender—were it not for a service mishap. As we were about halfway through our appetizers, a bus boy came out bearing our entrÃ©es. Looking at the table, he said, “Oh, too earlyâ€¦” and turned around to bring the meals back into the kitchen. When the entrÃ©es were served to us about 20 minutes later, there was every sign that the same two dinners had simply been re-heated. The steak looked charred and the salmon was scorched around the edges and dry in the center.
Owner Dean Marrazzo seemed to sense something was wrong, and came scurrying over, asking if everything was all right. He whisked away the fish (we opted to keep the steak, which was still pink in the center) and shortly thereafter a freshly cooked, moist piece, translucent in the center, was brought to the table.
This is a young restaurant currently suffering growing pains. We look forward to the Olde Stone Mill learning to apply its strengths and become more consistent and steady on its feet.
THE OLDE STONE MILL
2 Scarsdale Road, Tuckahoe
Lunch, Mon. to Sat. 11:30 am-2:30 pm
inner, Mon. to Thurs. 5-10 pm, Fri. and Sat. 5-11 pm, Sun. 3-9 pm
Brunch, Sun. 12-2 pm