Stones Throw

Time:  Saturday.  March 29.  6:30 PM. Reservation.

Location:  SF; Russian Hill
Address:  1896 Hyde St
Cuisine:  American
Party Size:  3
Order:  2 starters, 2 small plates, 2 entrees, 1 bottle of wine, 1 bottle of beer, 1 dessert, 2 dessert beverages
Pre-tip Cost:  $195 [$179 meal; $16 tax]
Verdict:  Solid neighborhood restaurant

(Disclaimer:  I wasn’t planning to write about this place at the time of dinner, so the pictures are slightly lacking.)

Stone’s Throw is a new participant in the Russian Hill neighborhood restaurant scene.    Opened by the owners of Fat Angel (a solid but slightly overpriced beer and wine bar on Fillmore, IMHO) and a former Michael Mina GM, Stones Throw attempts to bring the quality drink selection that Fat Angel offers together with a more robust food lineup in a low key, casual setting.

The entrance opens up to a bar off to the right with a few seats and some standing room.  By the end of our dinner the bar was filled up nicely.   The floor has a sizable amount of open space in the middle with the tables lining the walls on both sides and a deceptive area of additional seating in the back as the restaurant “Ls” behind the next door office.  The server stations with cutlery and water act as a partition to act as a divider that did lead to some awkwardness as our waitress had to walk all the way around it to service both sides of the table.   The lighting and noise level were not noteworthy for any negative reasons which is something I will consider a positive.

A decor theme that appears through out is birds (possibly inspired State Bird Provisions, just around the corner from Fat Angel).   There are birds on the window, on the menu and in my favorite place – on the bathroom door.

An added bonus to the experience is their partnership with Uber from which you can get 5% off the bill if you show your receipt for using the service to get to the restaurant.   Seeing as the location is not exactly parking friendly and quite a hoof up some hills from many of the nearby MUNI routes (though the Powell Cable Car does pass right by), the partnership is mutually beneficial.

Enough with the background, time to jump into the eats!

I did not get a picture of the outside, but the menu set up was pleasant.   The wood color matched the menu nicely.

To start, I ordered a smoked porter by Evil Twin called “Ashtray Heart.”  The 12oz bottle was only $9 which is surprisingly seeing as three days later I saw it for sale at my local beer shop for $12.   The table also ordered a bottle of the Sangiovese Felsina ‘Berardenga’ chianti.   The general consensus was the wine was served a little too warm but we drank it all the same.

Since we were dining with a friend, we were able to get some additional variety with a family style of snacks, small plates and entrees.   I should note at this point that we were kindly asked to order all our food at once on account of the small kitchen size – so that means no grazing on apps while thinking over the big decision!

We started with the Puffed Potato and Eggs with an order of their “Everything” Baked Potato Tots.

The tots (bottom) were delectable.  Crunchy on the outside with the surprise of melted cheese and bacon lurking in the middle.   The puff also had a secret hidden within; a soft, runny egg.   All in both the snacks were winners.
We also grabbed two of the starters they had to offer.   First is the grilled octopus on a bed of white beans.
Followed by the Squid Ink Conchiglie Pasta.

Going back to my earlier disclaimer about not planning to write this, I do not have too much specific to say about either of these plates.   Neither left a lasting impression either way (the octopus was a let down compared to a recent dinner at 1760) and the squid ink was more of an entree order for M so I didn’t get much more of a taste than one black squiggle.

The two entrees the table ordered were the Olive-Marinated Leg of Lamb and the Seared Maine Day Boat Scallops.

The lamb was a ridiculous portion. The meat was a beautiful dark red and was tender in all the right places.    When served, an olive “sauce” was poured over the plate and meat to add subtle flavor.   The lamb was laid overtop of a nice artichoke/cucumber salad.

The scallops did not come in at the same level of quantity as the lamb entree (a general shortcoming of scallops, IMHO, high cost, low quantity).   While the one half that I was able to try was cooked to a delicate softness and I have no complaints about the quality, I wouldn’t consider this to be a value entree.

Naturally we left room for dessert.    The apple pie caught my eye and reminded me of my younger days.    The waitress did clarify that, like the name suggests (Not Your Grandma’s Apple Pie), the dish would be served in a less traditional fashion.

The apple “pie” is rather deconstructed.   Within the dish you can taste each of the components of an apple pie but the structure didn’t bring back the childhood memories of the warm apple pie slather in ice cream (or in a bowl of milk, as I ate my pie).   That is not to say that this was an unappetizing dessert, it just didn’t satisfy my pie desire – even with the words of warning.

With dessert, we also ordered two dessert beverages.   I got the apple pie mead (a real original pairing, no doubt) while B ordered one of the dessert wines – the name of which I never caught.

After about a 90 minute dining experience we all left satisfied, a little sleepy and stranded on top of an SF sized hill.  Lucky it is easier to go down than go up.

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