How often does a restaurant build a special entrée just for readers of the American Israelite? We must admit the record of such instances is an uncertain one, but the word “never” comes to mind. Well, now that word—never—may be relegated to the scrapheap of history as pertains to AI. Stone Creek’s GM Andrew Schrier and Chef Jeff Moore put their heads together, virtually, and decided they would do an American Israelite Special dish for six weeks or so, in honor of this article.
The dish is a winner! We’ll start from the bottom and build upward, then out: the base of the entrée is risotto made flavorful by add-ins of bruschetta tomato and goat cheese. The risotto is topped with delicate spears of broccolini, steamed but with a mild crunch. Next is the grilled salmon. More on that in a minute. In this column, we have written about the difficulty of getting a filet of salmon grilled without turning it into shoe leather on the outside and flaky-dry and borderline tasteless flesh on the inside.
Moore and his staff know what they are doing with salmon. My piece on this special AI dish was excellent: tasty, moist, nicely crusted on the outside, but without being tough. The defining test for me on grilled salmon is whether a fork will go through the crust and easily break off a piece of the fish, which is exactly the result we achieved with the salmon in this dish.
Next came a wonderful topper for the fish, which has its own backstory. The topper? It is an apricot and fresh peach marmalade, house made—perfectly balanced with the salmon. The backstory? These peaches circuitously arrived at Stone Creek from Georgia, sort of from the famous Peach Truck. The peach-trucking business has become big business, with tractor-trailer loads of peaches in 25-pound boxes being sold to local patrons who stand in line for the privilege of buying a box or two. Circuitous because Moore knows the owner of that business, and when peaches were beginning to mature this spring, Moore met the supplier halfway, somewhere between here and Georgia, to bring back peaches for his Stone Creek recipes.
“The fresh peaches make the dish really special, and I learned to use them when I was working (as a chef) in the South (Nashville, Tennessee),” he said. He’s right about the peaches making this a special dish.
Lastly, ringing the risotto base is cranberry gastrique. Gastrique? Well, yes. It’s a sweet-sour sauce, made by caramelizing sugar and deglazing the confection with vinegar to create the sweet-sour taste profile. Often, the add-in, such as orange juice, is used as part of the signature of a dish, hence duck à l’orange. In this case, the syrupy sauce is done with cranberries, and the complement it lends to this dish is perfect. Ask for the salmon special if you are a salmon fan. I’m betting you’ll love it as I did.
For dessert, Chef Moore brought out the Georgia peaches again, this time in the form of a cobbler. While cobblers tend to be grandma-style home-kitchen throw-togethers, the Stone Creek version is several notches above Grandma’s in texture and taste, with a delicious touch of elegance to it. The base of this cobbler is puff pastry in the French style; light, flaky, layered with butter, “puffed” by steam generated between the layers during baking. Puff pastry alone is a treat, but even more so when fresh peach compote is spooned over it. Let’s not stop there; a sugar-cookie crumble tops the peaches, along with dollops of whipped cream and vanilla ice cream, all brought together by a fresh caramel syrup. Cobblers are among my favorite desserts to begin with, and Chef Moore’s cobbler is a blue-ribbon version for sure.
As for the “Promise” mentioned above, Stone Creek has taken the Ohio Restaurant Association Promise “…to make sure we are keeping guests and team members as safe as possible” during the pandemic. GM Andrew Schrier said: “We are doing everything we can to make the dining experience here at Stone Creek safe and worry-free for every guest. At the same time, we have a list of the symptoms (of COVID-19) posted at the front door. And if symptoms are present, we respectfully ask patrons not enter the restaurant. We also ask that they are willing and able to follow the social distancing guidelines that have been put in place.”
Schrier went on to say that although the restaurant could seat 207 guests, the new table-spacing means only 120 guests may be accommodated at one time. All tables and booths are spaced to conform to the distancing protocols put in place by Governor DeWine’s administration. “We are following the Board of Health guidelines in every respect,” he said.
See you at Stone Creek Dining Company in Montgomery!
Stone Creek Dining Company - Montgomery
9856 Montgomery Road,
Montgomery, OH 45242