DINING: STONE CREEK DINING CO. No longer up a creek in Hamilton-WEB ONLY

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When I moved to southeastern Hamilton County eight years ago, it was largely a culinary wasteland. Sure, my husband and I found a couple of good local eateries and a bar or two with decent food, but it didn’t take long for us-and our out-of-townguests-to grow weary of the limited options. “Sahm’s? Again?” So we were happy when this month’s quest for restaurants that “rock” sent us to Stone Creek Dining Co. (13904 Town Center Blvd., Noblesville; 770-1170), the latest addition to Avon-based Cunningham Restaurant Group’s stable of suburban dining meccas.

In addition to the other Stone Creeks-in Greenwood, Plainfield, Zionsville and Cincinnati-Cunningham runs Boulder Creek Dining Co. in Brownsburg, Charbonos in Avon and Café 251 in Capital Center downtown.

Stone Creek opened at Hamilton Town Center in August, offering some local flavor to the chain-heavy outdoor mall. Let me speak for my fellow HamCo foodies: Welcome, neighbor.

Rather than make time for the drive from downtown for lunch, we splurged on dinner. It was a Monday night, but felt like a special occasion thanks to the warm, upscale atmosphere.

We started with the Ahi Tuna appetizer ($9.99 for a single portion, $14.99 for two), which might have been risky elsewhere but was a jackpot at Stone Creek. The sushi-grade tuna was served rare-just how we like it-on a bed of Asian slaw with fiery hot mustard and a milder horseradish cream for dipping. Yum.

My friend had trouble picking just one entrée from the array of drool-inducing possibilities, ultimately settling on the Chicken Scaloppini ($16.99)-chicken sautéed with wild mushrooms in a prosciutto sherry cream sauce and served atop bleu cheese mashed potatoes with a couple asparagus spears. Every bite was a taste explosion.

I opted for the Spicy Chicago Beef sandwich ($10.99), which featured thinsliced marinated beef and provolone cheese on a toasted roll, aus jus, and a hot-pepper mix on the side to provide some additional flavor. Sandwiches come with a selection from Stone Creek’s impressive list of sides, which run the gamut from the pedestrian (fries) to the eclectic (roasted tomato cous cous). I went with the creamy goodness of the broccoli salad and didn’t regret it for a minute.

Risk-takers by nature, we pushed our luck and ordered dessert. The Flourless Chocolate Torte ($6.99), artfully presented with swirls of raspberry sauce and real whipped cream, was adequate, if not addictive. Next time, we’ll try the Cranberry-Golden Raisin Bread Pudding. Or maybe the Red Velvet Cake. Or the Caramel Cheesecake. Or the … well, you get the idea. •

-Andrea Muirragui Davis

Third in our month-long series of reviews of restaurants that rock-or at least have rocks in their names.

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