On a recent lunch outing, a friend and I found things to like about Stockhouse Restaurant & Sports Pub. We loved the atmosphere, we could live with the beer selection and we appreciated all the TVs tuned to sporting events – especially the replay of Super Bowl LI. The Pats were losing when we settled in, and by the time we left, the field was covered with red, white and blue confetti. Go Pats!
But the service and the food left a little to be desired.
I met my buddy on short notice, texting him during the lunch hour and suggesting we meet for a quick bite. We got together more than an hour later, but there was nothing quick about our outing. I arrived first, and adhered to the sign near the door that asked that I wait to be seated. There were several empty tables near the bar and in the dining area. Three minutes later, I was still waiting unacknowledged and finally grabbed a table by the bar.
A few minutes later, my buddy arrived. Five minutes after that, a waiter came by to welcome us with menus. Another seven to 10 minutes passed before we ordered our drinks. I lost track of time before we placed our food order.
During our wait, we admired the place. It’s bright and spacious, and as sports fans, we both appreciated the many and large TVs. (Did I mention the Patriots’ most recent Super Bowl victory was on replay?) We debated moving out on to the open-air deck, which overlooks a parking lot, but opted to stay inside, as Tom Brady was just warming up and finding his open receivers.
The menu overwhelmed us, in a positive way. So many choices – all the usual-suspect appetizers, soups, salads, pizzas and calzones, hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, wraps, burgers and a pretty decent selection of seafood. There’s also a whole section of entrees. My first impressions were good. I loved the variety and the prices. Most sandwiches cost right around $10, and the entrees came in between $10 and $15. The only exception was the steakhouse ribeye, at $18.99, which was the most expensive item on the menu.
I opted for the haddock fillet, baked ($10.49). Although the fish fillet itself was excellent – fresh and flaky – the cheese that it came with seemed to be placed on the sandwich as an afterthought. It was cold and not even close to melted. The tomato slice was thick and hard – so hard I had to remove it from the sandwich. Near as I could tell, the roll that the sandwich was served on was without adornment whatsoever. No mayo, no tartar sauce.
With a little effort, the sandwich could have been great, but suffered from a lack of attention. My sides were garlic mashed potatoes, which were cold and bland, and coleslaw, which was merely bland.
My friend seemed to love his chicken quesadilla ($7.49). He said he did, and he didn’t leave a bite on his plate, even fending off the waiter who tried to clear the plate before he was finished. “Not quite yet,” he said, as the waiter reached to whisk it away. As the waiter departed empty handed, my buddy deadpanned, “They can’t brag about the service.”
It should not take 90 minutes to eat lunch, especially when we arrive after 1 p.m. It wasn’t busy. It was a quiet weekday afternoon.
I’d love to give the Stockhouse another chance, because there’s a lot to like about it, most notably the reasonable prices and the excellent atmosphere. But there’s no way I’m going back during the work week. I don’t have enough time to spare.
WHEN: 11 a.m. to close Sunday and Monday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday
WHERE: 506 Main St., Westbrook. 854-5600, thestockhouserestaurant.com
WAIT: 30 minutes or more on the afternoon we visited
PARKING: Plenty of off-street parking
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes