Before I start to write this review, I have to get a few things off my chest. Reason # 139 why any blogger who accepts a free meal in return for a review should NOT and I repeat NOT be taken seriously. There has to be a reason why they are reaching out to you in the first place. With that said, I was contacted a few months ago (I get contacted often by local restaurants offering freebies in return for reviews) by a consultant of Stella's to enjoy a complementary dinner for two in return for a review on this very site. I regretfully turned down his offer due to the fact that no "honest" or "legitimate" review could ever possibly be written on a free outing.
Sorry, this is going to get long real quick, but onto our awkward night out with no kids in sight:
I'm not one who typically makes reservations, but this being the wife's birthday dinner and all plus we managed to pawn our kids off for the night, I figured I had better since this was the wife's direct request for dinner location. Upon arriving 5 minutes early to our reservations, we were quickly seated and that is where it all went downhill. I don't expect the best seat in the house just for making reservations, but I certainly do not expect the absolute worst possible seat imaginable. With nearly half the tables in the house still open at 7:10, I wasn't too thrilled in the least. Work with me here, imagine three tops for two, a shared bench on one side and those three tables spaced about 5"-6" apart (the wife had to physically move the table next to us with two people seated in order to get back to the bench). We both were so close to the other two tables on both sides of us that is was miserably uncomfortable. Oh, it gets better, when our waitress needs to get to the table in the corner, either I have to move about 3 feet in one direction or I get the top of my bald head rubbed like I did the day I turned 21 at the local gentleman's club. Before our drinks even arrived, I was already over this place and could not escape soon enough.
doilies under the soup cup until the wife showed me hers, last night's dinner specials! I guess they are just trying to use up old menus as a means of recycling.
After already being disturbed by the seating situation along with the noise level in the very echo ridden room, this had better be the best damn tasting food I have ever experienced in my life. It wasn't! The wife's Flounder was good, but certainly not worth the price tag for the 4-5oz portion that she received especially since everything else served with it was almost non-eatable in her opinion. The fish was extremely crispy on the outside, but was slightly overcooked on this inside. The fritter was cold and bland, defiantly not cooked to order and the veggie mix was lacking almost everything.
As for my meal, I was just confused. Hanger steak, absolutely my all-time favorite cut of beef when prepared properly (and that is hard to screw up). When you think hanger steak, you think of a very nice long, thin(er) cut of meat just waiting to be cut into, not a 4oz serving for $24 that looks like a broiled sirloin that is pitch black. Known as the "Butchers" cut, this one was one that the butcher happily threw out. Go ahead and guess, take a look above and tell me which one is the steak and which one are the ribs? You can't, I didn't even know until I cut into them. As for presentation of this dish, FAIL. For the short ribs, this was a first for me. Never in my life have I ever needed a steak knife to cut through them. The flavor of everything was overall decent, just completely an under-whelming meal for the price. One suggestion I'd like to offer, please do not try to cover up how old the meat is (IE: short ribs) with an over abundance of some sort of coarsely ground salt. I would prefer to salt and pepper my own meat, thanks.
Although this review sounds very negative, (as it mostly is) don't take it the wrong way. Everyone is different in what they are looking for in a restaurant and if you want average food with fancy names and ingredient lists that most people have no clue about or to impress someone with how much money you pay, Stella's will deliver that for most people. I was mostly just pissed off with the world after so much went wrong prior to even placing my order to be able to enjoy anything thrown at me. With all this said, ("said" someone will say I am being a Dick or am a Dick) I plan to be back myself, but not for dinner, ever. Rather, I will be checking out the Tuesday lunch special as Kentucky Hot Brown happens to be one of my all-time favorite meals after spending so much time in Louisville (no sure how this fits with the whole "Southern cuisine", but hey, I'll be back just for it). I just hope they haven't screwed this one up too much by adding personal (culinary "FANCY") flair to it.