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“Too pricey for the quality”

Stone Balloon Ale House
Ranked #26 of 356 Restaurants in Newark
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $25
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Center St, Near Academy
Description: The Stone Balloon Tavern and Concert Hall opened its doors in 1972 and rapidly became, as Playboy magazine once noted, “One of the 100 Top College Bars in America”. Delaware's premier live music venue, “The Balloon” hosted such iconic American bands as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Allman Brothers, The Dave Matthews Band, and Metallica, as well as local favorite George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers. Fast Forward 42 years to the NEW Stone Balloon Ale House. Built on the sight of the iconic rock hall, the Stone Balloon Ale House features a unique blend of crafted food, exceptional beer, classic cocktails redefined, and an array of spirits – all flavored with a dash of nostalgia. Our culinary mantra is "Comfort Food Playfully Reimagined" and we prepare seasonal favorites that strive to please the palette and resurface a memory. Through local partnerships and genuine hospitality we offer an experience that honors both community and time. Stop by to see us on Throwback Thursdays, an homage to the old legendary Stone Balloon MUG NIGHTS. We may be new, but we haven’t forgotten our roots! Comfort Food…Playfully Re-imagined
Delaware
Level Contributor
30 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Too pricey for the quality”
Reviewed March 19, 2013

I was there with a large work group. I liked the atmosphere, the cozy lighting and natural finishes. Our waiter was forever walking away when we had questions. I asked about having an entree sized portion of the scallops and was told it would be $32 for 4 scallops...no thanks. The crab fondue we shared was salty, the bread that accompanied it was good...but I was confused by the out-of-season strawberries on the plate. Were they supposed to be dipped in the crab or just a garnish? The mushroom brushetta was good, others liked the brushetta with fish and chicken.
I settled on pork loin for the entree. I think it was $29 for a fair portion of tender, but overcooked pork, bitter greens and "spponbread" that appeared to be cornbread that was very dry.
The dessert I have was chocolate cake balls with a little drizzle of caramel, with a peanut butter cream that was delicious. The cake balls were nothing special.
My meal was probably $50, without the tip.
I would prefer the University of Delaware upscale "Vita Nova" if I am looking for a fancy, but fairly priced dinner on Main Street in Newark.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank AnnDelaware
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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119 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Newark, DE
Level Contributor
88 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Creative menu, but missing the basics”
Reviewed March 3, 2013

The brunch menu is very creative, but the food was served cold. The server was pleasant, but not very attentive. Decor still attractive, but can't make up for mediocre meal. Not going back soon.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank wildmommms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
99 reviews
82 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“High End Wanna-be... needs help”
Reviewed January 6, 2013

Having lived in Newark years ago, from a restaurant standpoint it was always a college town catering to the tastes of the U of Delaware student. Transforming the former Stone Balloon dance bar several years ago into the upscale Wineshouse was certainly a courageous undertaking. With entree prices hovering around $30/entree, this could certainly fill a void for the people looking for a "nice" or "occassion" restaurant. It certainly has potential however the owners/manager are missing what it takes in my opinion to make it in this niche. Hostesses dressed in college casual (jeans, etc) with an "it's a job attitude that I lead you to your table" aren't going to do it. Classy black/white upscale attire with a "glad-you're here" attitude would certainly give a better first impression. The bare stone walls, dim lighting, and REAL candles on the table gave me hope. Unfortunately, bare fake wood tables with vinyl orange chairs killed the mood. Again, real tablecloths with upholstered wood chiars would have kept with the expected mood. The waiter was prompt in taking our wine order but upon bringing wine to the table after a lengthy absence, announces."Sorry it took so long, I finally found this laying in the back"! The Chardonney was delivered at room temperature and THEN put on ice. Since he never came back to refill our glasses, we finally asked the person delivering the food to go find our wine. We then asked that the chiller be placed tableside in case our waiter disappeared again. (Which he did! We poured our own for the rest of the night.) If you expect ANYTHING in a place called "Winehouse" you'd expect them to treat wine with more of a flair and interest. We were holding out for a turnaround with the meal. In most cases this also was a disappointment. The Beets and Sweets salad looked delicious upon arrival but turned out to taste like it had been pre-made before dinner started and was kept ice cold in a refrigerator. Dressing was applied just before serving. For a higher end restaurant you expect it to be prepared as ordered. Ingredients were very fresh with a nice dressing...unfortunately it got better as we ate it as it had time to get over the "right-out-of-the-refrigerator" chill. We followed this by sharing the crab cake entree which was huge (2 large mounds of fresh crab meat with little filler) worthy of any fine DC (or Wilmington, DE restaurant). Unfortunately, once again, the details and attention to temperature was lacking. The crab cakes were served luke-warm although accompanied by hot vegetables. (Obviously applied at different stages of the "production line"). Perhaps the crab cakes waited too long after preparation in the kitchen for delivery to the table. I would highly recommend this entree for future diners but insist they arrive HOT. We ate only ONE of the crab cakes between us due to shear size but took the remaining with us cuz it really WAS very good. We decided not to chance dessert. I agree all courses could have been returned for a second try at getting it right but...you can't send them ALL back. We did this only with the original house wine.
I really hope this place makes it. Newark needs a "nice" restaurant. Unfortuantely, right now I feel we have a wanna-be nice restaurant missing critical details to take it to a "WOW...I'd come back with friends". First among the improvements would be training the staff (and management?)to "think" and "act" like a top restaurant. (With the U of D School of Restaurant Mgmt down the street, it shouldn't be hard to find this!). Also step up the firnishings to the next level. Cloth...not vinyl and plastic table tops. And finally...get the food temperatures correct. Foods "could" be worthy of a fine restaurant if only they could be delivered as the chef intended.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank New_Month_New_Trip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
Level Contributor
27 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Disappointed”
Reviewed January 6, 2013

Our first visit was a few years back; our second (and last) visit was last night.

A wine bar should have a decent selection of wines by the glass; this one doesn't.

A restaurant that tries to be upscale, should have a chef that knows how to run a kitchen and create flavor combinations, rather than create things that appear novel or unique on a menu.

How can a place even screw up raw oysters? Half a dozen, two of which were served on the flat shell, none were cut from the shells; not to mention the cubes of salty pineapple hinted jello that covered them (the taste of which was still annoying my pallet long after I finished my lamb shank), actual pineapple would have been been nice. My date was also underwhelmed by her choices.

Service was good but not spectacular. Several items were sold out by 8 on a Saturday night.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank gr8ful_ken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
233 reviews
132 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“A gem in Newark”
Reviewed December 28, 2012 via mobile

My standards are pretty high for restaurants so I was cautiously optimistic going in. Although a bit pricy for the area, it delivered in every way. Weeks later I'm still talking about the pork belly entree. Service was great. Atmosphere was lovely. Couldn't have asked for more. Love this place!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Lynne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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