Stoney River has two appetizers that are so expensive they must be ordered in place of an entree by a lot of people. I didn't try the crab cake, which is only offered as a first course, deciding instead on the signature tempura lobster tail. No complaints about this one: It has a very light coating of tempura batter and is quickly fried. There is a honey mustard sauce to go with it, which is fine, but if that isn't rich enough, there's also drawn butter.
Another possibility is the whiskey shrimp, which come perched on fat rounds of baguette with a thick, creamy sauce flavored with mustard and Jack Daniels. Save those rounds of baguette if you like bread with dinner, because if you do, the rolls (called Stoney River puppies) won't satisfy you, even though they are hot, light and soft. They are in the shape of hush puppies; but they taste like fried doughnut holes with poppy seeds in them, especially when you put the sweet honey butter on them.
Save them for dessert. But then, of course, you wouldn't have room for the signature triple-layer chocolate ganache cake. It looks unappetizing - what looks like a quarter of a mile-high cake with a butcher knife stuck through the top because one person could never eat it alone. I'm not a huge fan of densely chocolate cake, but this was so fresh, so soft, so intensely chocolatey, with little bits of chocolate, it was hard to resist. Other desserts, like the cappuccino creme brulee and cheesecake, seem pedestrian by comparison.
As steakhouse chains in the mid-price range go, Stoney River is a decent one. If I went back, I would order beef, and I would order it without the seasoning. It's good enough to stand on its own. I probably wouldn't order an appetizer; they seem to me disproportionately expensive compared to the entrees. And I would definitely pick an off-hour to go unless I felt like waiting for a table.
Stoney River Legendary Steaks
Where: : 25 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson
Contact: : 410-583-5250, StoneyRiver.com.
Hours: : Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Food:: ** 1/2 ( 2 1/2 )
Service:: *** ( 3 STARS)
Atmosphere:: ** 1/2 ( 2 1/2 STARS)
[Outstanding: **** Good: *** Fair or uneven: ** Poor: *]