Monday, September 10, 2007

Hot Stone Grill Restaurant Review

It's a good idea really: If you have a successful restaurant that is oftentimes full, go one block over and open another restaurant, add a clever twist to the menu, and a little different decor — but otherwise keep the two places completely alike — and watch the people come.

That is what the owners of L'Olivier did in Jomtien: They had a winning combination of nice French cuisine served at a reasonable price (with an optional all-you-can-eat appetizer and soup buffet plus dessert for an additional 100 baht or so) and quickly became one of the more popular restaurants in Pattaya.

Thus, from the L'Olivier location in Jomtien Complex, the owners chose an equal-sized storefront one street over (right next door to Flamboyant, another excellent restaurant), put together some nice warm hearth-colored decor, set up the same appetizer and soup buffet, and turned it into a steak place. The new fad that they are following is the "Hot Stone" serving method, which is similar to a sizzling fajita plate in Mexican restaurants... only, instead of an iron skillet, a flat volcanic stone is heated to a high temperature, and the meat you order is brought out, sizzling on the hot stone. I've seen it a couple of times in other restaurants around Pattaya, most notably in Le Saigon, the lovely restaurant that sits 25 stories up on top of Pattaya Hill Resort on Pratumnak Hill, close to The Royal Cliff Resort.

We started off with a pureéd vegetable soup, a trademark of the two restaurants, which was simply excellent. This evening, it was a carrot and cauliflower soup. The buffet is the exact same selection as is found in Hot Stone Grill's sister restaurant one street over: Salads, paté, cured cold cuts, and vegetables. As with L'Olivier, I really am not too crazy over the buffet selections... but since it's just appetizer food, I'll let it slide.

The entries are served exactly as I said, on a stone slab, sizzling in their own juices, with gravy offered on the side. You are given a dish with potato and vegetables already on it, so that you can move your meat from the stone to a cutting surface. I had the duck with orange sauce (about 450 baht with the buffet), Stan and Jeff both had the ribeye steak (about 420 baht with the buffet), and Steve had the prawns (can't remember how much). We all enjoyed our meal just fine. (Those prices are estimates... I didn't keep notes this night.)

After that was dessert. I had tiramisu, which cost a few additional baht onto the prix fixe menu cost. The tiramisu was acceptable, but not excellent. Stan had flan, and Steve had chocolate cake.

The entire meal wound up costing us 600 baht ($18) per person, which is very reasonable.

Pattaya is really starting to get filled with to the brim with restuarants that offer great food at very reasonable prices. As for Hot Stone Grill, this is assuredly one of them... but not really the best. If you go out regularly to restaurants, and have tired of all your regular haunts, The Hot Stone Grill is a fine place to go. However, when competing against the likes of Flamboyant, Cherry Restaurant, White Knight, and even... yes... L'Olivier, it falls just a little short of the top tier.

4 comments:

jd said...

I just tried White Night and O'livier. To me Cherry is a cut above both of them. Perhaps I tried White Night on an off day, but the food seemed really bland. Desserts were ok, though.

O'livier was really boring foodwise to me, and uncomfortable too--but that probably says more about the kind of places I like--the more laid back the better.

I highly recommend the buffets at Montien--especially the Wednesday Mediterrenean buffet. Another great place (be warned the food is very heavy) is a German buffet at a place called Anton on Naklua road a few hundred meters past the Dolphin circle. It's a real meat festival and only 180 baht or so.

Jil In Pattaya said...

Can you give me good directions to Anton, JD?

jd said...

It's on the east side of Naklua Road opposite Soi 18 a few hundred meters north of the dolphin circle and a few shophouses north of Pizza Big (which by the way gives Pan Pan a run for the best pizza in Pattaya).

jd said...

It's #12 on this map:

http://www.alphapro.com/looking/nakluamap.html