Old Stone Farmhouse (St. Thomas) – Major Disappointment

Several years ago we journeyed to the Old Stone Farmhouse for a memorable meal. The food was delicious and the surroundings beautiful and after dinner we enjoyed a small combo in the courtyard. We wanted to return. The drive to the restaurant from the East End is a bit harrowing on a dark, winding road, and the turn onto the driveway needs complete concentration, but when you enter the building it is well worth the last quarter-mile.

Since our last visit, the chef and the management have changed, and neither was for the better. The highlights of the latest meal were the building and the server, who was outstanding throughout the meal. We arrived at 730 on a Saturday and by 815 we were the only table still in attendance, a bad omen and it was strange that with three separate rooms ours was the only one occupied.

The menu is divided into three sections with appetizers, salads and entrees. To start, the table ordered a couple of flatbreads, with toppings that change daily. The toppings that the chef was using on our visit included beef, jalapeño peppers, onions plus other vegetables, topped with an Asian hoisin-style sauce. The combination was not to my liking. It felt as if the kitchen decided to chopped the remnants of the ingredients from other dishes and piled onto the flatbread. It was a mish-mash of flavors.

For my appetizer I ordered the Local Fish Crudo (it was Mahi Mahi on our visit) served with sweet chili aioli, pickled jalapeño, radish, and watermelon. The plate was an wooden mini-artist’s paint palate. The cubed Mahi was spread across the upper edge, topped with a few thin slices of jalapeño pepper and thinly sliced radishes. At first glance I did not see the fresh fish under the two other toppings. Alongside the fish were small cubes of watermelon. The fish was very fresh, and very lightly marinated, barely a hint of citrus was evident. The peppers added a little spice and the watermelon a touch of sweetness. It was a basic combination of some regular components; good but nothing special.

I ordered the Grilled Pork Chop for my entrée. It was served with a smoky garlic polenta, pickled peaches, roasted vegetables with a drizzle of a bourbon peach reduction. It should more accurately as a large pork filet, the bone was removed and it was cut into four thick slices, and served atop the other components. I ate one of the end pieces first, my first impression was that it was a bit over-seasoned with salt and pepper. As I moved to one of the interior slices I saw that one half of the slice was medium and the other half raw, I was not about to eat raw pork. I spoke with the manager and the server and she immediately removed it. When it returned the two interior slices were now well-done and the other end slice was still half cooked, half raw, the kitchen did nothing to correct that slice. I was not amused and it was removed from both the table and the bill. I would classify the kitchen’s attempt to repair their mistake a complete failure on their part and the manager never returned nor offered his apologies.

Others enjoyed their entrees, which including the scallops, duck, Mahi Mahi and the special of the evening the Bolognese.

For dessert I ordered the black cherry cheesecake. It was an individual serving with the berries both embedded in the cake and a couple of squirts of sauce on the plate. It was creamy and very good.

Overall it was an incredibly disappointing visit to the Old Stone Farmhouse. The flatbread was horrible and the crudo was not to my liking. But the fact that the kitchen saw the pork was half raw after slicing it and still served it and then compounded this mistake by knowingly overcooking two of the three pieces on its re-fire and again serving the original slice of half raw pork is completely and totally unacceptable. While the manager was quick to remove the offending plate, he had zero follow-up. When it was sent back a second time, he should have come to the table. We were literally the only occupied table in the entire restaurant.

Mistakes happen and how a restaurant handles that situation is important. Serving raw pork was strike 1, returning the dish with well-done and raw was strike 2 and the manager lack of attentiveness was strike 3. The one star that is earned by the restaurant on this visit was the server, the only professional on site the entire evening.

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