Friday, February 12, 2010

Stone's Throw Bistro

Sanford is not on the beaten path for most food/wine aficionados but this gem of a restaurant is just a "stones throw" off said path. The (coincidentally) named Stone's Throw Bistro ( is an eclectic-themed restaurant located in the heart of downtown Sanford (that is not an oxymoron) on Magnolia Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets. The restaurant's focus is on "... fresh, seasonal ingredients made in-house."

The entrance to the restaurant is through two rickety glass doors and the hostess station is almost never (wo)manned. The restaurant stretches way away to your left with the floor expanse broken up by outcroppings of chair-surrounded tables and, in the far distance, a small, brightly lit bar. The walls are covered with local, non-first-rate art and the ceiling hails from a bygone era. In other words, the perfect setting for a culinary surprise.

The chef/owner, Richard Lendino, will not be appearing in any celebrity-chef shows any time soon. His preferred presentation is in marked juxtaposition to everyone that we see on The Food Network but boy, can he transform raw ingredients into succulent, orgasmic, palate-pleasing dishes. Richard worked under chef Louis Chatham at his downtown Orlando restaurant before moving to New York to become the Executive Chef at a Long Island restaurant. Upon his return to Florida, Richard became the chef at the now-defunct Blue Dahlia, followed by a stint at a Metrowest restaurant. When the opportunity presented itself to be both chef and owner, Richard jumped at it. Hence Stone's Throw Bistro.

I have dined at Stone's Throw on many an occasion and give it pretty high marks. It has the best quality-price ratio in the region with appetizers averaging $10 and entrees $19. I have been there with parties of 2 and 20 and have always come away pleased with my meal. Because everything is prepared in-house, and it is a minimally staffed kitchen, patience is in order (The word "bistro" in the name is not an accident.).

I had dinner at Stone's Throw last evening and had a wonderful experience. The appetizers at our table were the Portobello Ravioli and the Steamed Mussels (dripping in a lemon butter sauce). The restaurant generally features a game and sport fish and these were venison and poached mako shark, respectively. I had the latter. It was accompanied by thinly sliced potatoes and both were topped with a crumbly tomato sauce. The shark had the look a of a sailfish steak but was much more approachable as the desired piece calved from the core with just a light application of pressure from the fork.

Chef has created a captivating environment in which to enjoy his culinary masterpieces. In order to minimize his expenditure on wine inventory (he has a more-than-adequate wine list), he encourages patron to bring their own wines which they can enjoy corkage-fee-free. The service was excellent last night. Nikky was persistent and consistent; enveloping but not overpowering. There is live music on weekends (last night it was live acoustic rock with Fred Frap) but the music stays in the background.

Take a trip to Sanford and visit Stone's Throw. The restaurant is closed on Mondays but open on Sundays between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm for brunch. It is best approached by coming up 2nd Street and making a left into Magnolia. Parking is available on the street or in the bank parking lot across the street from the restaurant.

1 comment:

  1. Been to Stones Throw several times and have always been delighted by the food and staff. Amazing crab cakes! I'd love to see him improve his wine listings tho. Don't mind bringing my own, but that is sometimes a pain to your waiter.